Rangers' OT goal beats Caps, 2-1

Bouchard's rebound shot spoils Kolzig's big effort

Hockey

January 16, 2003|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Even though they were being outskated in the third period, the Washington Capitals were hanging on because their goalie, Olie Kolzig, was knocking away puck after puck.

But when overtime came, it was the New York Rangers who got the lucky bounce off a goal post that set up a rebound for defenseman Joel Bouchard, who scored the game-winner in a hard-earned, 2-1 victory.

The goal ruined Kolzig's bid for his 200th career win, but the point earned in overtime stretched the Capitals' streak of games in which they've collected at least one point to a franchise-record-tying 14 straight.

It matched the efforts of the 1982-83 and 1983-84 teams, when they had runs of 9-0-5 and 10-0-1, respectively. The Caps are 8-0-3-3 during their past 14 games.

"It's human nature to lose a bit of urgency with the roll we've been on," said Capitals coach Bruce Cassidy, whose goalie kept his team in the game with 34 saves, including 13 in the third period.

"We have to make sure it doesn't become habitual. In the third, we got outskated, but Olie got us the point in the end. And that's OK, because lately we've been scoring for him.

"Don't worry about Olie's 200th victory. He'll get it Friday or Saturday or Monday. It's just around the corner."

The Southeast Division-leading Capitals (21-16-5-3) will play Toronto here Friday before going on the road for games in Ottawa and Boston, respectively.

Washington is on one of the hottest streaks in its history and came into this game off a series of impressive victories, including a 12-2 win over Florida last Saturday and a 4-3 victory Monday over the New York Islanders.

In those games, Jaromir Jagr produced 11 points, the first NHL player to do so in consecutive games since Mario Lemieux in 1995.

Last night, Jagr needed four points to tie the league record for most points in a three-game span held by Wayne Gretzky, Lemieux and Peter Stastny.

But Jagr, who said he and his team were "a little tired," managed just one point. That came 1:40 into the first period when he and Michael Nylander assisted on the team's only goal - that a pretty score by Kip Miller, who has also been on a hot streak with three goals and five assists in six games.

The Capitals controlled much of the play in the first period, but could not pick up a second goal, and, at 4:24, New York defenseman Tom Poti sent the puck past Kolzig for a 1-1 tie that lasted until Bouchard scored in overtime.

The victory gave the Rangers (19-22-6-1) their first three-game winning streak of the season. And anchored by goalie Mike Dunham (24 saves), New York has now won four of its past five games.

"We played hard," said Washington captain Steve Konowalchuk. "We just need to sharpen up a few things and buckle down now.

"I think earlier in the year we would have lost our composure, but this was a tight game and we're now comfortable in tight games. All we have to do is tighten our defense just a little."

NOTE: The Capitals, trying to strengthen their third line, obtained Ottawa rookie defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski (two assists and six penalty minutes in 20 games) for future considerations yesterday and also claimed Rangers left wing Josh Green off waivers.

N.Y. Rangers 1 0 0 1 - 2

Washington 1 0 0 0 - 1

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