Bruins bury Kolzig-less Caps, 7-2

Billington yanked again

Wash. sags under .500

October 31, 2002|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Playing without starting goaltender Olie Kolzig, the Washington Capitals were helpless and embarrassed last night by the surging Boston Bruins, who got seven goals from seven different players for a 7-2 victory.

Continuing a hot early season performance, the Bruins scored four times before the second period was two minutes old and chased backup goalie Craig Billington to the showers for the second time this season.

But the loss could not be pinned totally on goaltending. The Capitals went 1-for-8 on the power play and seemed to simply dissolve on defense.

"I don't know how to describe it," said forward Jaromir Jagr, who assisted on both Caps goals - by Kip Miller and Steve Konowalchuk. "Our defense didn't move the puck, our forwards - we had so many chances but couldn't buy a goal - and our goalie can't make a save."

All of it played into the hands of the Bruins, who earned their fifth road win in seven games and improved to 6-1-2 overall.

The Capitals fell below .500 at 4-5-1 and are 0-3-1 in their past four games, a fact that has frustrated everyone.

Last night, after managing just one power-play goal despite the eight chances that included 91 seconds of five-on-three play, Jagr was particularly disappointed.

"In my opinion, we don't have good players [for] the power play," said Jagr, who is on the first power-play unit, which is packed with the Caps' best offensive weapons - himself, Peter Bondra, Robert Lang, Sergei Gonchar and Kip Miller.

"They are good players, but we don't know what side to play. We don't help each other. Everyone watches when someone gets the puck and draws the defense instead of moving to ... an opening.

"It's like everyone is waiting for the perfect shot. It's not 1980; there are no perfect shots."

Caps coach Bruce Cassidy admitted the unit looked disorganized last night and said he understood Jagr's comments. But he added: "Jags is also the guy we're trying to move the power play through. I'm hoping he can take the role [of playmaker] that Adam Oates had last year. What concerns me most is that we aren't getting to the rebounds for the second chances. But tonight, we weren't very good in any area, though we did get the puck to the net, so I guess we created offense."

Kolzig, placed on injured reserve Tuesday, will be out until at least Monday with a sprained wrist. While he heals, goaltending falls to the veteran Billington and rookie Sebastien Charpentier.

In four games, Billington, who gave up four goals on 12 shots last night, has been up and down, going 0-3-1 with a goals-against average well over 3.00. The steadiness he displayed in past seasons here has been noticeably absent, and he appeared unable to help himself last night when his team's defense abandoned him.

"Craig has an opportunity to get minutes," Cassidy said. "But in three of four games, he hasn't given us a chance to win. If he wants that job, he has to win - I'm not going to sugarcoat it. And we have to play defense."

Said Billington: "No one is more disappointed than myself. I make no excuses and hold myself accountable."

Charpentier, originally tapped to be Kolzig's backup before management changed its mind and shipped him to the Portland (Maine) Pirates of the American Hockey League, was called up Tuesday. The Bruins welcomed him just as they had Billington, scoring three times on 17 shots.

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