- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2000


TAMPA, Fla. The effects of a brutal 11-day stretch for the Washington Capitals finally caught up with the team last night and the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning took full advantage.
Scoring three times in the first period and twice in the third within a matter of seconds, the Lightning surprised the Caps 5-2, ending a 16-game (13-0-3) unbeaten streak Washington had against Southeast Division opponents and a 5-0-0 streak over Tampa Bay.
It left the Caps with a 3-7-4-1 record after 15 games for a disappointing 11 points.
Washington committed a variety of errors last night, many of them uncharacteristic. Players passed repeatedly to spots on the ice where there was no teammate, either causing turnovers or at the best breaking up a rush. They took bad, retaliatory-type penalties, something coach Ron Wilson has been preaching about all season. They failed to clear the crease of garbage they usually clear routinely. Olie Kolzig failed to play like Olie Kolzig.
"This is our seventh game in 11 nights and I think it showed," Wilson said. "We just didn't have the energy to create chances. We had the energy to get a forecheck going and maintain possession in their end but … we got behind the 8-ball, they got a couple breaks and we just didn't have the energy to get back in it."
In fact, the Caps did get back into the game, scoring twice in the middle period to close to within a goal. But half way into the third period, as the Caps closed on a 2-on-1 break, Kevin Weekes made the stop for Tampa Bay and the Lightning turned the play around on a dime, scoring immediately on a breakaway. All that was left was to play the rest of the game.
"We were just completely out of gas," Wilson said, defending his troops. "You could see it happening in the third period [Saturday] night. I was hoping we'd get off to a good start, if we could have scored early, but we didn't. This isn't anything that I'm really worried about other than we've got to find a way to get some rest."
In the first 20 minutes, Wayne Primeau at 3:48 off a tip in front, Mike Johnson at 11:53 off a sharp angle shot Kolzig has got to have, and Paul Mara at 19:12 on a power play (the first Washington has allowed in the opponents' last 27 tries) put the Caps into a deep hole. It wasn't all that unusual that Tampa Bay scores three or more in a game but normally it gives up four or more.
The Johnson goal was particularly hard to swallow. An errant puck bounced out of the Tampa Bay zone and past three Washington forwards. Johnson chased it and had a head start before the Caps defenders noticed what was going on and turned to chase Johnson. It was an attack that was preventable and a shot Kolzig probably should have had.
The Caps closed to within 3-2 in the second period on scores by Andrei Nikolishin with a two-man advantage and 1:40 later off a circus-like performance turned in by Steve Konowalchuk.
But then Tampa Bay hit with lightning-like suddenness in the middle of the third period, scoring twice within 18 seconds to settle the issue. Mara got his second of the night and wing Sheldon Keefe recorded his first-ever NHL goal.

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