- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 30, 2000

CAPS 4, LIGHTNING 1

Goalies like to say they played well enough to give their team a chance to win. That was the case last night with Tampa Bay's Kevin Weekes until the number of Washington shots simply overwhelmed him.

The Caps got their seventh win of the season after bombarding Weekes with 45 shots en route to a 4-1 victory that wasn't secure until late in the third period. Washington is now 4-0-2 in its last six at home and is 11-0-2 in its last 13 home games against Southeast Division teams.

"We tried to exploit Tampa's weaknesses and we did," said Caps coach Ron Wilson. "We didn't sink [after Tampa Bay scored first], we kept persevering. The second period they only got one shot. We were committed defensively and we just worked until we finally scored."

In fact, the Lightning were kept back on their heels so much that they went 20 minutes, 28 seconds at one point overlapping the second and third periods without a single shot on goalie Olie Kolzig. The 14 they ended up with was the low allowed by the Caps this season and the low Tampa Bay has attempted.

"I know they fooled around with the shots," Tampa Bay coach Steve Ludzig claimed. "I know that, everybody knows that." He did not ask for a recount.

"You just try to prepare for it mentally; you try to do your best," said Weekes. "You just try to make as many plays as you can to give the team a chance to pull the game out regardless of what happens."

Washington had shooting advantages of 14-1 and 17-2 but had nothing to show for it. Lightning center Vincent Lacavalier finally broke the ice at 18:18 of the first with a power-play score, Tampa Bay's sixth shot. It was the visitors' last goal, despite having a two-man advantage for 43 seconds in the second period.

Adam Oates tied the game in the second period off a very bad angle, a perfect shooter's goal into the top far corner. Jeff Halpern got the game-winner shorthanded the team's first of the season when he banked a shot off Weekes' right arm and into the net.

"I didn't score it," the center protested, although replays suggest he did. "The rebound went up and [Steve Konowalchuk] knocked it in over his shoulder. But it's good to just be out there and do something productive. Our line played well and the team played unbelievable."

Washington finally iced the game in the third when Joe Murphy got his first of the season at 12:57 and Chris Simon added his third at 15:11.

"We got a big win and it was a real good win for the team," said Murphy, who recently missed 11 games. "I was excited, it was like when I got my first goal in my career. It just felt really good out there and we got the win, too."

Notes The Caps announced a trade after the game, acquiring left wing Derek Bekar, 25, from the St. Louis organization for left wing Mike Peluso, 26, who had been tied for the scoring lead with the Portland (Maine) Pirates. Bekar had 5 goals and 7 points in 17 games for Worcester, Mass., in the American League while Peluso had 12 goals and 22 points in 19. General manager George McPhee said he felt Bekar, a University of New Hampshire product, would be able to help immediately in case of a call-up. Players familiar with the British Columbia native said he was very fast and highly-skilled… . With two assists, Calle Johansson tied the club record, held by Scott Stevens, for career assists by a defenseman. He now has 331.

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