- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 4, 2001

If the Washington Capitals could transfer some of their success on special teams at home to the road, they might not be looking up at .500 at this point in the season.
The difference between home and away is especially noticeable in penalty-killing, where the Caps rank 27th overall in the league at a none-too-good 79.5 percent (average is 84.6). At MCI Center, the Caps are shutting down opponent power plays 90 percent of the time; on the road the team's success rate drops to 73.2 percent.
Three of Carolina's four goals this past weekend came off the power play, albeit one was at the tail end of back-to-back two-man disadvantages.
"You've got a 5-on-3 and we did a great job but eventually they scored," coach Ron Wilson said yesterday. "The other one [Sunday] was kind of a bad bounce. I thought we did a great job killing penalties in Carolina, to be honest. On one, they shot, we block it at the point, it goes way up in the air and we lose sight of it and it happens to get a lucky bounce for them.
"I'm concerned about our penalty-killing but not Sunday. I thought we did a really good job. It took them two 5-on-3s, and almost two full minutes of it, to finally cash in. I'm confident our penalty killing is going to come around."
The power play figures are separated widely but are good nonetheless. The club is ranked second at home at a gaudy 26.3 percent and eighth on the road at 17.4 for an overall rank of third in the league.
Seventeen players showed up for yesterday's optional practice after the weekend sweep of the Hurricanes, but that was not the topic of conversation. The club has moved beyond that, and was focusing on the New York Rangers, tonight's opponent at MCI Center.
"Both games so far have been very physical," Wilson acknowledged, not having to be told the teams are averaging more than 100 penalty minutes a game in their two contests this season. "There seems to be a little bit of bad blood, for whatever reason I don't know, other than in both games we've managed to get our power play going and it's been the difference. They've taken some penalties at key moments and we've taken advantage of it. I think this time the Rangers are going to have to be a little more disciplined."
The Rangers have won three straight, with goalie Mike Richter posting back-to-back shutouts in his last two games.
Dave Christian, who played defense on the Lake Placid "Miracle On Ice" 1980 U.S. Olympic team and played for the Caps for 61/2 seasons, was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame last night in Eveleth, Minn. Christian's father, Bill, and uncle, Roger, played on the 1960 U.S. Olympic team that captured gold in Squaw Valley. Christian, now a scout in Minnesota, played 15 years in the NHL, toiling for five teams while competing in 1,009 games and accounting for 340 goals and nearly 775 points. Also inducted last night were Paul Johnson, a member of the 1960 Olympic team, and Mike Ramsey, a member of the 1980 team who went on to play more than 1,000 NHL games and is now an assistant coach with the Minnesota Wild.

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