- The Washington Times - Monday, December 3, 2001

RALEIGH, N.C. To say that Dmitri Khristich has not made a major contribution this season for the Washington Capitals would be an understatement. He was inserted back into the lineup three games ago after missing nine games and has played well.
Yesterday, he scored the goal that allowed the Capitals to tie the Hurricanes with 56 seconds left and send the game into overtime.
To say that Jeff Halpern has not made a major contribution this season for the Washington Capitals also would be an understatement. He was recently demoted to the fourth line, and a bigger demotion may have been in the cards.
Yesterday, he was on the ice three minutes into overtime and scored the game-winner, just his third goal of the season. Halpern was mobbed by extremely happy teammates.
The Caps completed a weekend sweep of the Hurricanes with a 4-3 victory yesterday that followed a 6-2 drubbing Friday night and chopped Carolina's lead in the Southeast Division from nine to six points.
The comeback yesterday was stunning for a team that seemed out of it with less than nine minutes left in regulation and down by two.
"Our plan was to get them in regulation," said coach Ron Wilson, who had to watch as what appeared to be a third-period goal by Andrei Nikolishin was disallowed. "It didn't happen but our goal was to try to get three points this weekend that would be a positive. You just can't be greedy and say you're going to win both games, though you'd love to. You've got to be reasonable.
"When we got the goal near the end of the game to tie it up, I think we relaxed a little bit. That might be the point where we get things turned around on a consistent basis, like we believe in ourselves, we can do something like that. That was great, two guys scored who have been struggling, although that [non] goal by Niko, the puck went clearly over the line. We watch two or three replays, and we were wondering why they didn't allow the goal."
Ulf Dahlen's 11th of the season in the first period backed Olie Kolzig's attempt to keep it close enough to prevent the Hurricanes from running away. Ken Klee ripped a 45-footer past goalie Tom Barrasso 4:21 into the third, narrowing a 3-1 deficit to 3-2. And with 90 seconds left, Wilson pulled Kolzig to go for the extra attacker and a tie. The extra attacker was Khristich.
"We needed a right-handed shot in that situation," Wilson said when asked why. "You play a hunch. You want fresh legs, someone who might want to prove something, and he did."
Nikolishin won the draw, Jaromir Jagr pulled the puck back and gave it to Sergei Gonchar, and the defenseman fired from the right side of the slot. His shot struck something in front and bounced toward Khristich, right where a right-handed shot should be. Khristich hit it with everything he had even though he was just eight feet away.
"The biggest thing is that it's nice to be able to contribute in a positive way," Halpern said after he won it at 3:24 but played a solid game all afternoon. "It was good for us, a good weekend but obviously we've dug a pretty big hole for ourselves and it takes more than one game to get out of it."

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