Monday, October 10, 2005

Caps Outwork Rangers For 3-2 Win

After playing well in an OT loss to the Devils Saturday, the Rangers were outworked and outhustled by the Capitals in a 3-2 loss at The MCI Center Monday afternoon.

The Caps (2-2-0) were coming off an awful 8-1 defeat at the hands of the Thrashers. But against the Rangers, they played with a lot more determination.

It didn't start badly for the Rangers. They came out with some good shifts in the first period but a Jamie Lundmark hooking penalty seemed to change the momentum. After outshooting Washington 7-2 early on, the Blueshirts were outshot 5-3 to end a scoreless stanza.

The Rangers got on the board first in the second when they took advantage of a five-on-three power play. With Chris Clark and Jeff Friesen in the box, Jaromir Jagr one-timed a Tom Poti feed by Olaf Kolzig for his third of the season at 2:06. Poti and Michael Nylander had assists.

But any chance to get a two-goal lead was thwarted by Kolzig, who finished the game with 30 saves.

Washington tied the game 4:18 later. Off a turnover by Lundmark, who fell down leading to a three-on-one, Petr Sykora backhanded a Jeff Friesen rebound through Kevin Weekes at 6:24. Friesen and Andrew Cassels notched assists.

The Rangers would reclaim the lead a few minutes later. After failing on their third power play of the period, they got a break on the fourth one off some hustle by Jason Ward. On a Marcel Hossa shot which Kolzig looked to have, Ward crashed the net and got a piece of the puck to chip it in for a 2-1 lead with 9:42 left. It was second goal in two games.

Instead of getting momentum, the Rangers were sloppy with the puck in their end leading to turnovers and good Caps' chances. But Weekes kept them in front until a brutal end to the second.

With Jagr leading a rush with under 10 seconds remaining, he took a hard hit by Brian Sutherby behind the net which led directly to a Caps' odd-man rush. With the Rangers caught in a line change, Washington scored on a three-on-two with under a second left to tie it. Steve Eminger rebounded a Chris Clark shot by Weekes to make it 2-2 at 19:59. It was a fitting conclusion to a period which the Caps outshot the Rangers 17-10.

In the third, New York had a couple of early power play chances to retake the lead but Kolzig (12 third period saves) and the Caps' penalty killing unit got the job done.

The turning point came when Steve Rucchin was whistled for hooking, ending the second power play. Just 27 seconds later, Darius Kasparaitis took a lazy hooking penalty to give Washington a two-man advantage. It would prove costly when rookie Alexander Ovechkin scored his third of the season. The former 2004 number one overall selection found a Jamie Heward rebound and beat Weekes on the doorstep top shelf with 10:57 remaining. Heward and Bryan Muir assisted.

Though they received two more power plays on Clark minors late, the Rangers couldn't get much done. When they had chances, Kolzig stopped them, including robberies on Jagr and Ward. They finished 0-for-4 on the power play in the third, which summed up the day.

Weekes turned aside 25 of 28 shots.


Notes: Rangers (1-1-2) have next two days off before they return home to host Devils (2-1-0) Thursday night (7 PM)....D Marek Malik sat out with a sore groin....D Bryce Lampman was recalled from Hartford to take the place of D Jason Strudwick, who took a leave of absence for the death of his grandfather....LW Ville Nieminen returned from a groin injury to make season debut, replacing LW Ryan Hollweg in the lineup.

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