Caps Clutch and Grab A Win
Washington, DC (Jan. 1) If you like to see sticks grabbed and players
chucked to the ice, then Tuesday's game vs. the Capitals was for you.
The problem was that the Islanders seemed to be the ones being caught
as it led to a Capitals' 3-2 win on New Year's Day.
Kenny Jonsson returned to the lineup after missing the last two while
Dave Scatchard was a healthy scratch for the second straight game.
Oleg Kvasha was also a healthy omission from the lineup.
Starter Garth Snow was sharp in the early going. He made several
quality stops when Peca was sent off early for slashing. Snow also
gave the crease-crashing Dainius Zubrus a neat "glove-in-the-face"
when the Caps' right wing decided to bump the Islander netminder
during the powerplay.
Around the midway point of the period, Alexei Yashin turned a neat
stickhandling display at the Caps' blueline into a pretty set-up
across the Washington goal crease. He used one hand to flip a pass
over the Cap defender's stick to Mariusz Czerkawski. The problem was
the dish was a bit in front of the right wing, thus limiting his
ability to one-time the feed. Washington goaltender Ollie Kolzig was
able to re-set and gobble up the scoring chance.
Yashin was later foiled on his next shift when he had Kolzig down and
tried to sneak a shot inside the right post. The Caps' netminder
managed to dive across and stop the point-blanker.
The Islanders were given a great chance to open the scoring when
Washington was down two men with 3:37 left in the first. The two-man
advantage was for 1:42 as two of the Caps' top defenders, Brendan
Witt and Ken Klee, were in the sin bin. However, they could not take
advantage of it. Yashin had three great chances, a pair of rockets
from the top of the left faceoff dot that Kolzig foiled. He then
couldn't stuff home the rebound of a Czerkawski shot that put Kolzig
out of position.
Not surprisingly, the Islanders were quickly called for a penalty
thereafter when Jason Blake was sent off for boarding with 1:14 left
in the period. The Islanders thwarted those two minutes.
Special teams continued to play a big part in today's game.
Washington was converting on their opportunities while the Islanders
The Islanders had another chance on the powerplay early in the second
after a 5-on-3 in the first. However, the best scoring chance came
for the Caps, who came down on a 3-on-1 with Adam Oates in
possession. With Ray Giroux back, Garth Snow stopped Oates' in-close
wrister. When the Islanders came back up ice, Giroux was called for
Almost a minute later, Adrian Aucoin was sent to the box for popping
Andrei Nikolishin after the Caps' forward appeared to clearly hold
his stick. Washington went on the 5-on-3 powerplay and scored
immediately as Sergei Gonchar's blast from the right point beat Snow.
The Islanders killed off the remaining 1:38 of Aucoin's penalty and
responded by catching the hosts napping with Jason Blake's fourth
goal of the season at the 5:33 mark. Michael Peca set things in
motion in the neutral zone. He then hit Blake across the Washington
blueline, who sped behind the Caps' defense.
A penalty to Jonsson late in the period allowed the NHL's second-best
powerplay to take another crack at the Islander net. It helped the
home team grab the lead again. This time, Nikolishin banged home his
8th goal of the year after Bondra's point shot hit Zubrus in front.
The Capitals received a little New Year's luck with .6 seconds left
in the second period. Jeff Halpern's centering pass from behind the
net caromed off Snow and into the net.
The Islanders were still in it. They could not convert on an early
third-period powerplay when Adam Oates was sent off. Eight minutes
in, Czerkawski was denied on the doorstep when Kolzig sprawled to
take away the top of the net.
Michael Peca cut the lead to one with 3:25 remaining in the game.
Jonsson made a great play at the blueline to keep the puck in the
zone. Peca took a feed from Mark Parrish and beat Kolzig with a shot
over his glove.
28 seconds later, Witt was sent off for a high sticking penalty to
Brad Isbister. Isbister had the best chance on the ensuing powerplay,
but Kolzig kept the Caps on top with another strong save, his 33rd of
FORWARDS: Bates-Yashin-Isbister, Lindgren-Peca-Parrish, Bates-Yashin-
Czerkawski, Blake-Lapointe-Webb; Torres-Peca-Parrish.
DEFENSE: Jonsson-Tarnstrom, Cairns-Aucoin, Sutton-Kiprusoff, Giroux-
In a brief meeting with the Islanders' beat writers during the second
intermission, GM Mike Milbury touched on a number of topics. He said
no deal for a defenseman is imminent because it's the toughest
position to make a deal for and "that's why we signed Martinek,
Tarnstrom and Kiprusoff in the first place." Milbury said he wants to
see a more physical element to his team. "We only have one guy who
likes to hit, and that's Webb," said the GM. Milbury also expressed
concern that the Islanders haven't been receiving balanced
officiating since Peter Laviolette tore into the refs after the
club's OT loss in New Jersey last month. Finally, in looking toward
possible deals before the deadline, Milbury said he wants to stay
within his team's age group, in keeping with the acquisitions of
Yashin, Peca and Osgood. He said he is not interested in giving up
a "core asset" for a rental...
Raffi Torres left the game in the second period when he was cut over
the right eye. He was stitched up and returned...
For those who aren't able to see the game on television, the
Islanders wore their home whites for this game...
Peter Laviolette made it to Washington in plenty of time this
morning. He expects his wife to give birth to their third child
within the next few days...
For the second-straight contest, the Islanders went with seven
defensemen. The Caps did the same as they double-shifted Jaromir
The Islanders scratches are F Dave Scatchard (healthy), LW/C Oleg
Kvasha (healthy), D Roman Hamrlik (knee, 3-6 weeks), D Radek Martinek
(knee, out for year) and D Kevin Haller (groin/abdominal injury,
Glen Metropolit, the former Long Island Jawz forward of the defunct
Roller Hockey International league, played on the Caps' first
powerplay unit with Jagr, Adam Oates, Peter Bondra and Sergei
On the game:
"It's not how we wanted to end it. Specialty teams won the game for
them. Our powerplay didn't come through and our PK gave up two. I
didn't like our special teams or our physical play. I didn't like our
puck possession down low. We didn't win many one-on-one battles."
On the winless streak vs. Washington:
"To me, we've lost just one game to them."
From the lockerroom
On how he felt after the game:
"I felt great, except that we lost."
On the team's physical play:
"Maybe I'm more noticeable than some of the guys but Parrish, Peca,
Isbister and so-on are doing it too. Maybe they don't get the big
hits but they initiate contact. It's just not as visible as we'd like
it to be."