Islanders pull a power play on Capitals, rally to 5-4 win

Two in 2nd helps end skid of 15 on Washington's ice

Hockey

December 22, 2003|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Usually, the Washington Capitals can embarrass the New York Islanders at will on home ice. But now, with the Capitals trying to turn their season around, the Islanders have turned the tables - for one night at least.

New York came back from a two-goal, second-period deficit at MCI Center last night to beat the Capitals, 5-4. It was the Islanders' first win on the Capitals' home ice since March 2, 1997, in Landover - 15 home games ago.

The result was evidently too much for the Capitals to deal with immediately after, as all of the team's major players were nowhere to be found in the locker room after the game for the first time this season.

"When we were up 3-1, we got sloppy," said Dainius Zubrus, stopped on his way to the workout room. "We played a little too loose, and you could sense it right from the beginning of the game. We weren't as good as we're capable of. Maybe we were trying too hard, but there were a lot of loose pucks out there."

The Capitals' record drops to 10-20-3-1, with Montreal due in tomorrow for the third game of this five-game homestand.

The loss ended the Capitals' unassuming unbeaten streak at 1-0-2, as the team's penalty-killers faltered, giving up back-to-back goals in the second period to Mark Parrish and Kenny Jonsson to make it 3-3 with 30 seconds left.

In the third period, goals by Alexei Yashin and Mariusz Czerkawski proved too much for the Caps, who came within inches of tying the game twice in the final 47 seconds on shots by Robert Lang (two power-play goals) and Jaromir Jagr (one assist).

The Caps got goals from Brian Willsie and Kip Miller.

"We were better than them five-on-five," said Jonsson. "And then, when we scored on the power plays by getting a lot of traffic in front of their net, that was big. If we had gone into the third down two goals, we might not have had the confidence to come back."

Before last night, the Islanders had scored power-play goals on just four of 50 previous chances. In the second period here, they scored those two goals on three chances.

Capitals coach Glen Hanlon took the loss stoically, having seen that the Islanders worked harder and chased more pucks.

"Basically, they beat us at our own game," said Hanlon of a New York team that is also in the midst of a turnaround, having climbed to within a game of .500 by going 5-2-1 in the past eight games.

Hanlon welcomed Jagr's return and said he had no trouble with goalie Olie Kolzig (39 saves), who appeared to give up two weak goals.

"We were outshot 16-8 in the first period," said Hanlon. "At that point, Olie's given us an opportunity to win and in my opinion his job was done for the night."

N.Y. Islanders 1 2 2 - 5

Washington 1 2 1 - 4

First period - 1, N.Y. Islanders, Papineau 1 (Kvasha, Aucoin), 3:17. 2, Washington, Lang 18 (Jagr, Bondra), 14:30 (pp). Second period - 3, Washington, Willsie 3, 4:48. 4, Washington, Miller 5 (Gonchar, Bondra), 6:42 (pp). 5, N.Y. Islanders, Parrish 8 (Bates, Aucoin), 17:37 (pp). 6, N.Y. Islanders, Jonsson 2 (Bates, Hunter), 19:29 (pp). Third period - 7, N.Y. Islanders, Yashin 12 (Czerkawski), 1:09. 8, N.Y. Islanders, Czerkawski 12 (Asham), 13:50. 9, Washington, Lang 19 (Gonchar, Bondra), 18:45 (pp). Shots on goal - N.Y. Islanders 16-14-14-44. Washington 8-6-11-25. Power-play opportunities - N.Y. Islanders 2 of 3; Washington 3 of 4. Goalies - N.Y. Islanders, DiPietro (12 shots-9 saves), Snow 7-8-1 (6:42 second, 13-12). Washington, Kolzig 8-19-2 (44-39). A - 12,928 (18,277). T-2:14.

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