Lightning takes advantage of Caps in 4-3 overtime win

Two men up, Tampa Bay gets 1st victory in Game 3

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

WASHINGTON - The Washington Capitals could not survive back-to-back penalties on Jaromir Jagr and Ken Klee in overtime last night and fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3.

Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig made back-to-back saves, but could not catch the last shot 2:29 into the extra period by Vincent Lecavalier, who scored twice to give the Lightning its first victory in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Washington now leads the series 2-1, with Game 4 tonight at 7.

As the clock ticked under three minutes in the third period, Jagr took an elbow to the jaw from Tampa's Pavel Kubina that laid him out of the ice for a little while. But before he went down, Jagr made the pass to Sergei Gonchar that Gonchar sent into the back of the Tampa net to keep the Capitals alive and send Game 3 into overtime.

This game was unlike the first two from the beginning. Unlike Games 1 and 2, in which Washington had dominated play, kept its mistakes to a minimum and found the net with unusual style and ease, Game 3 was an up-and-down affair with each team controlling play at times.

And, at 16:14 of the first period, Washington's two-game trend of taking the early lead was ended. Martin St. Louis (one goal, two assists) drew Kolzig to the near post and then quickly passed cross-ice to center Lecavalier for a one-timer that forced Kolzig into a long, leg-stretched slide that came up an inch short.

The goal gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead, its first lead of the series, and though the Capitals tied the game twice, on goals by Dainius Zubrus, it could never get the lead from the Lightning and its goalie, Nikolai Khabibu lin (16 saves), who looked much more like the goalie who had gone undefeated in 16-straight games at the end of the regular season.

The Capitals had a chance to even the game at 1-1, at 8:26 of the first period when Zubrus was taken down from behind during a break-away on a Tampa Bay power play. Zubrus skated the puck toward the net, but made it easy on Khabibulin, when he shot wide of the net.

The last time the Caps had a playoff penalty shot was April 24, 1996, when Joe Juneau missed. In franchise history, the Capitals are now 0-for-4 on penalty shots.

Zubrus did, however, get his first goal of the playoffs at 14:21 of the first period. The Caps right wing, who has been getting better and better the longer this season has gone, was in the left circle when Sergei Berezin completed a relay of the puck from Michael Nylander. And once the puck was on Zubrus' stick, he wasted no time.

Demonstrating his individual ability, Zubrus passed the puck between the legs of Tampa defenseman Dan Boyle, beat defenseman Cory Sarich to the sliding rubber as it approached the net and then eluded Sarich's poke check to get off a shot that froze the goalie and tied the game at 1-1.

It was Zubrus' first playoff goal as a Capital, but not his last night. At 9:35 of the second period, Zubrus scored again on a highlight film maneuver. With a Tampa defenseman wrapped around him and pushing him back and away from the net, Zubrus somehow managed to get his stick on a puck from Jagr and flip it up and over Khabibulin to tie the game, again, 2-2.

The Lightning wasn't quite so lucky. As the final seconds of the period elapsed, a bounding puck bounced off a Caps skate past Kolzig (22 saves in regulation), but clanged off the post and away. The chase continued to the other end of the ice where Kubina was called for high sticking at time ran out, putting the Caps on the power play to start the third period.

But it was St. Louis who scored the next goal, giving the Lightning a 3-2 lead with 8:47 to go. No one was sure just what would happen from there, but the Capitals kept coming, and with 2:56 left, Jagr swept around the back of the net and set the puck to Gonchar for the 3-3 tie and overtime.

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