Reeling Caps succumb to Ducks, 4-2

Cassidy: Lack of resiliency costly

winless skid hits 8

Hockey

October 30, 2003|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - The Washington Capitals were trying desperately to break a seven-game winless streak last night when Sergei Fedorov took a seemingly harmless shot at 4:23 of the second period, to stake the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to a lead it would build into a 4-2 victory.

The Capitals were doing well to that point. The game was tied, 1-1, when Fedorov's shot somehow slipped through goalie Olie Kolzig's legs, dawdled into the back of the Capitals' net and opened the gates for Anaheim.

Kolzig, who has been haunted by near misses this season, did not answer questions after the game at MCI Center. His distress was obvious as he waved away reporters and headed to the showers.

"We need to be more resilient as a team," Capitals coach Bruce Cassidy said. "When we get behind, we don't have the resiliency to get back into it. We have a goalie in there that is the heart and soul of this team and they have to play better for him and get behind him because he is our guy."

The Caps, who were 1-for-7 on the power play, have lost six straight and are winless in eight games. The losing skid is their longest since they dropped the final six games of the 1998-99 season.

Kolzig he knows his team is young, inexperienced and getting more desperate by the day.

"I'm usually there to shut the door and that hasn't been the case lately," Kolzig said before last night's game. "That's what I've got to do better. ... The only way you get out of this is your core veteran guys lead the way and everybody else follows."

Last night, the veterans tried. But the game followed the usual scenario. Fedorov scored an early power-play goal for Anaheim to give the Ducks the lead just 1:27 into the game. Then Stephen Peat beat Ducks goalie Martin Gerber to tie it for the Capitals.

At 1-1, the Caps (1-7-1) kept the pressure on but, as has been the situation most of this season, they could not score. Over nine games Washington has scored 19 goals, but only eight in its past six games.

"A goal like the [second] one Fedorov scored shouldn't beat you," Caps right wing Mike Grier said. "But we lose our composure a little bit. We just have to do a better job of calming ourselves down after we give up a goal."

Jaromir Jagr nearly broke the tie at 7:42 of the middle period when he got out on a breakaway, but Ducks defenseman Ruslan Salei hooked him down to ruin the chance. And with 4:23 left in the period, Fedorov took his easy swing. Kolzig thought he had it only to realize it was sliding through his legs. By the time he reached around and slammed his stick down the puck was in the net.

"Composure comes with experience and it starts in the back end," Cassidy said. "We're missing it. Sometimes it takes years, never mind a couple games or a month. But beyond that we need goals. We're supposed to have talented forwards. Why aren't they scoring?"

Anaheim 1 1 2 - 4

Washington 1 0 1 - 2

First period - 1, Anaheim, Fedorov 2 (Ozolinsh, Sykora), 1:27 (pp). 2, Washington, Peat 1 (Halpern, Doig), 7:41. Penalties - Grier, Was (boarding), 1:06; Salei, Ana (slashing), 4:33; Pahlsson, Ana (holding), 9:34. Second period - 3, Anaheim, Fedorov 3 (Niedermayer, Chistov), 15:37. Penalties - Salei, Ana (hooking), 12:18; Smirnov, Ana (tripping), 16:14. Third period - 3, Anaheim, Krog 1 (McDonald, Sykora), 4:46. 4, Anahiem, Rucchin 3 (Smirnov, Ozolinsh), 7:24. 5, Washington, Zubrus 2 (Bondra, Gonchar), 16:58 (pp). Penalties - Lupul, Ana, double minor (high-sticking), 10:09; Simpson, Ana (slashing), 1553. Shots on goal - Anaheim 7-16-8-31. Washington 6-8-11-25. Power-play opportunities - Anaheim 1 of 1; Washington 1 of 7. Goalies - Anaheim, Gerber 3-1-1 (25 shots-23 saves). Washington, Kolzig 1-6-1 (31-27). A - 13,350 (18,277). T-2:12.

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