- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2000

AVALANCHE 4, CAPS 3

Months from now, when other things matter a whole lot more, a Washington Capitals-Colorado Avalanche game played on Oct. 17 will seem like just another game, nothing more, nothing less.

But last night NHL history was made at MCI Center when Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy was in net as Colorado defeated the Caps 4-3 in overtime. The goalie earned his 448th victory, making him No. 1 on the all-time win list.

The Caps will probably look at it a bit differently, even months from now. They will believe the game was taken from them when Richard Zednik was tripped and knocked to the ice by Roy seconds before the right wing became entangled with Colorado defenseman Adam Foote.

The altercation earned Zednik a major for crosschecking and a game misconduct; Foote got two minutes for elbowing and Colorado had a three-minute power play. Peter Forsberg scored 2:37 into the overtime and Washington's best effort of the young season became nothing more than just another loss.

The Caps are now saddled with a 0-4-2 record and have New Jersey on the horizon. Colorado is now 4-0-2.

The Caps last night played the type of hockey that earned the team the best record in the league during the second half of last season at least they did for two periods. They played a lesser brand of the game for the opening 20 minutes and fell behind 2-0. Ulf Dahlen and a pair of goals from Peter Bondra put Washington ahead but the goal that counted most, the winner, is still elusive.

But it is the last few seconds of the game that will rankle most Washington players, when Roy committed a penalty that was not called, perhaps because of the circumstances that prevailed last night. But if Washington had played a 60-minute game to begin with, perhaps the non-call on Roy would not have materialized.

"It does matter in a way," Washington goalie Olie Kolzig said. "He should have got a call and we would have had the 4-on-3 and the retaliation never would have taken place. But Zednik's got to be smart enough to know there wasn't a call, the chances of a retaliation call being made are greater. But when the elbows come behind your back and you go forward, that's pretty indicative of a penalty.

"The positive is we got one point; the negative is we're in the history book."

The game didn't start very well for Kolzig or the Caps. The goalie let in what he called a "questionable" goal in the first 71 seconds and another went past him 15 minutes later when his teammates couldn't clear the Avalanche out of the crease.

Dahlen and Bondra tied the game in the second and Bondra put Washington up 3-2 on a beautiful score set up by Adam Oates and Steve Konowalchuk 25 seconds into the final period. Six games into the season and that was the Caps' first lead of 2000-2001. It didn't last.

"Yeah, we're playing better than we were but we're still making too many mistakes overall and if you want to win, that can't happen," said defenseman Calle Johansson.

Notes Considering the possible significance of the game, the crowd was embarrassingly small at 13,335… .

The Caps raised a banner on opening night Oct. 6 signifying their Southeast Division championship, but it was nowhere to be found last night. Team officials appeared to be mystified and more than a little perturbed. Other banners appeared to be in place at MCI Center, including a few that are bogus and meaningless… .

The Caps' American Hockey League farm team in Portland, Maine, is 3-2-0. Left wing Mike Peluso is the team's leading scorer at 5-2-7 (Trent Whitfield also has seven points), including two game-winning goals. Defenseman Alexei Tezikov, who had an extremely poor training camp, played in the season opener, was benched for three games, then scored a goal in his second game and was plus-2 defensively. It could be he finally has his act in gear. Tezikov was the biggest surprise in training camp from a negative standpoint… .

Speaking of negatives, right wing Alexandre Volchkov, drafted No. 4 overall by the Caps a few years back and traded to Edmonton last season, failed to make the Oilers' farm team in Hamilton, Ontario, and was demoted to a team in the East Coast Hockey League. He hasn't been heard from since. Volchkov had an amazing skill level but turned it on only when it suited him, and that wasn't very often.

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