CAPS 3, ISLANDERS 2
UNIONDALE, N.Y. Who says you can’t go home again?
Newly reacquired right wing Dmitri Khristich scored once and helped set up the game-winner last night as the Washington Capitals defeated the New York Islanders 3-2 in a game delayed by poor ice conditions at Nassau Coliseum.
It was one of the stranger games the Caps have played in their 27-year history. The start of the third period was delayed 48 minutes because the ice around the goal posts on one end of the rink evaporated and exposed the cement floor. The situation was partially fixed, enough to allow the game to continue. The teams switched ends half way through the third period to make it even.
“The bottom line is we got two points we won the game,” Caps coach Ron Wilson said. “There was a huge hole in the ice and as far as I was concerned, if it took a half hour to let the ice freeze, that was the best thing to do instead of trying to rush it.
“There was a danger of our goalie getting hurt and since we were going to switch ends, a danger of their goalie getting hurt,” continued Wilson. “I think the referees handled it very well and we got the game in.”
The game started at 7:38 p.m. and didn’t end until nearly 11, well beyond the normal game time of about 2:35.
Chris Simon’s fifth goal of the season, a power-play score off a breakaway in the third period, was set up on passes by Sergei Gonchar and Khristich, the latter didn’t arrive at the arena until 90 minutes before the game because of travel problems.
There was no scoring in the first period but New York made one thing clear from the start it was going to take no prisoners. The Islanders hit everything that moved and hit it with authority.
New York also scored the game’s first goal, just their third power-play goal of the month (they had been on 2-for-20 and 5-for-74 runs). Mariusz Czerkawski grabbed a rebound deep in the slot and whipped it back at Olie Kolzig, who got a piece but not enough and it rolled into the net at 3:35 of the second.
Khristich got that one back 13 minutes later with his first shot as a Cap.
Peter Bondra set the play up with a deceptive pass that had the Islanders leaning the wrong way, leaving half an empty net, and Khristich did not miss.
Then fourth-line center Trent Whitfield worked overtime to keep the puck alive behind the Islanders goal. He got it to James Black who flicked a pass to Joe Sacco and he banked in a shot off Black’s backside. The goal was credited to Black and it put the Caps up 2-1. Whitfield earned his first NHL point on the play.
The lead lasted 90 seconds. Washington played giveaway in its own end and center Dave Scatchard took advantage. He ripped a screened shot past Kolzig in the last minute of the second period, a bad goal to give up and at the wrong time.