- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 28, 2000

CAPS 5, SENATORS 1

KANATA, Ontario Peter Bondra scored at least four goals for the sixth time in his career last night, and when that happens the Washington Capitals win.

Bondra scored four times, Adam Oates celebrated his NHL Player of the Week Award with three more assists and goalie Olie Kolzig had an exceptional night, powering the Caps to a 5-1 victory over Ottawa, the front-runners in the Eastern Conference.

Bondra scored two power-play goals and one even strength in the middle period and added a fourth in the third to give him five four-goal games since he joined the Caps in 1990, plus one five-goal game on Feb. 5, 1994, against Tampa Bay.

"It's just too bad nobody in the world will notice he scored four, because Mario [Lemieux] had a goal and may end up with three or four," joked coach Ron Wilson, referring to Lemieux's comeback game in Pittsburgh last night. "[Bondra] had an outstanding night; he's been playing great. He's a major benefactor on the power play, especially with Adam being back in form."

Washington got off to another sloppy start, trailed by one after the first, then took complete control against a team that had lost only four home games all season.

"It was one of those nights: The puck felt good on the stick, especially the power-play shots," said Bondra, who has 18 goals for the season. "We played good hockey tonight well, the first four nor five shifts were a little sloppy, but then we got back to our system, we played our game and we won the game."

Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said the Senators allowed the right wing too much time to tee up his shots.

"He has one of the best one-timers in the league for him it was like hitting from the ladies' tees," Alfredsson said.

Bondra's blistering shots did awaken Washington's dreadful power play on the road. Going into the game the Caps were ranked No. 1 at home with a 27.7 scoring percentage but just a pitiful 11.0 on the road (eight goals in 73 tries). But the team hit twice in four attempts with the extra man, and that was the difference.

The Caps again did not get off to a good start. With the game less than three minutes old, Alfredsson sliced a shot from the left circle under Kolzig's right arm, and the Senators were up 1-0 because of a less than sterling defensive performance by Washington. But that was the Caps' only costly mistake.

The Caps played better in spurts after that, but Ottawa maintained its 1-0 lead into the seventh minute of the second period. Then goalie Patrick Lalime failed to stop four of the next seven shots, and school was out.

It started at 7:47 when Bondra ripped a 50-footer down the pipe to tie the game on a power play. Less than two minutes later, Bondra broke in on a 2-on-1 break with Richard Zednik. Bondra tried to pass across, and the puck deflected off one of Karel Rachunek's skates and past Lalime.

Less than two minutes after that, Dmitri Khristich made what at the time seemed like an ill-advised pass to Chris Simon. The big left wing got off a weak shot. Lalime made that save, but there was Khristich, smiling like a Cheshire cat, as he slipped the rebound into the left corner.

At 16:51, Bondra completed his 15th Caps hat trick, the franchise record. It came on a power play as he took a pass from Sergei Gonchar at the right point and slapped it through Lalime from 45 feet before the goalie could react.

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