- The Washington Times - Friday, January 19, 2001


OTTAWA Goalie Olie Kolzig was the first to admit it was a game to be forgotten and forgotten quickly, and that is exactly what he intends to do.
The Washington Capitals gave a game away last night, losing 5-4 to the Ottawa Senators with at least three of the home team's goals being gifts. It was a night when Kolzig was bad and his defenders did their best to make matters worse for him.
The winning goal is a classic example of how the game went. Mike Fisher, a seldom-used center who had one goal this season entering the game, was allowed to sweep in wide around the left side, and then got off a weak shot on Kolzig. There was no attempt by anybody on the ice to stop Fisher, and Kolzig apparently thought he had the shot lined up. But he lost it in his skates, it trickled off one of them and into the net at 10:40, the only score of the third period.
"It was a bad game," Kolzig said. "Bad goaltending you can't win too many games that way. My job is to stop the puck and give the guys a chance to win. I didn't do that tonight. The puck just had eyes tonight. It was just one of those nights I'm going to forget, not dwell on. We got a game [tonight]; I got to put [last night] aside."
Kolzig said the winner went off the side of the net, off his stick and into the cage.
Washington suddenly has hit the skids. The Caps are 2-4-1 in their last seven and Carolina, once nine points behind the Caps, is now just a point behind in the Southeast Division and on a tear.
"It looked like Olie struggled a little bit," Caps coach Ron Wilson said. "I'm sure he'd like to have a couple of those back, but we were sloppy and loose in our own end. Especially in the first period, we didn't get the job done, especially in our own end. And we didn't get the job done at the end of the second period when you've worked so hard to get yourself a lead and you give it up with loose and sloppy play. As bad as a couple of the goals looked, we're not even in anybody's way go ahead, shoot the puck. We've got to be better than that."
The Caps' rust from a four-day layoff was obvious from the start. Just three minutes into the game, Andre Roy ripped a shot off Kolzig's left elbow. Eleven minutes later, Kolzig misjudged where a rebound shot would come from, and as a result the slot was empty. Rob Zamuner had an undefended net to shoot at he was the only person in one wide-angle TV replay and did not miss, giving Ottawa a 2-0 first-period lead over the lifeless Caps.
Once the second period began, the goals started pouring through as both teams appeared to abandon organized, cohesive defensive efforts.
Nobody touched the Caps' Ulf Dahlen as he stood at the right post, his stick on the ice, calmly redirecting Calle Johansson's pass from the left point. Steve Konowalchuk shot wildly toward the goal from a crowded slot, the puck hit defender Jamie Rivers' skate, changed direction and flew past goalie Patrick Lalime who has given up 10 goals in his last two starts and gotten a split.
Alexei Yashin scored twice in the middle period, 12 minutes in when he banked a shot off the back of Kolzig's skate and leg into the net, and again in the final minute when he fought off Andrei Nikolishin and still got a shot past Kolzig.
In between, Jan Bulis roared down the left side and ripped a blast past Lalime, the first time in his career he has scored in three straight games. Nineteen seconds later, Sylvain Cote burst into an empty space in the slot and drilled a loose puck between Lalime's legs, making the score 4-4 after two periods.
Wilson tried changing his lines to get a spark, and for a while that appeared to be the key in the second period when Washington scored four times to take over the game. But the last Ottawa score in the middle period, Yashin's second, was the backbreaker, coming in the final minute and erasing more than 19 minutes of solid work.
But against a team as talented offensively as the Senators are, it is not possible to hand them three gift goals and expect to produce a victory. The Caps proved that conclusively last night.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide