Sunday, November 25, 2001

MONTREAL There was something of a festive atmosphere at Le Centre Molson last night, with the city of Montreal hosting the Grey Cup today and the weather unseasonably warm (high 50s), making the Christmas decorations seem out of place.
The only parade that got rained on was that of the Washington Capitals, who let one poor period ruin their night, handing the Montreal Canadiens a 5-3 victory that ended the Caps’ season-high three-game winning streak.
Goalie Olie Kolzig twisted himself into and out of pretzel shapes more times than could be counted, trying to contain the vastly improved and very fast Canadiens, who took advantage of the fact the Caps played Friday night and then traveled several hundred miles.
“I thought we started the game pretty well, getting out of the gate with the lead, we had a lot of energy, and then fatigue set in and with their speed they took advantage of us a little bit,” said Kolzig, who faced 43 shots. “They created a lot of opportunities and capitalized on the power play in the third period. We had a chance right down to the end to tie it up but … it was a good hockey game.”
Donald Audette, acquired from Dallas earlier in the week, scored midway through the final period at the end of a spree when Kolzig was particularly outstanding until he was finally overwhelmed by the Canadiens and the lack of help he was getting.
Jaromir Jagr scored on a power play at 12:15 to narrow the gap to 4-3 but the Canadiens scored into an empty net to clinch it.
Washington took a 1-0 lead just 2:06 into the game when rookie Matt Pettinger whipped a wrist shot over goalie Jose Theodore’s left arm. Pettinger had taken a feed from Rob Zettler, just the second point of the season for the defenseman.
That was all the scoring in the first period thanks to Kolzig, who prevented Brendan Witt from stuffing a rebound in his own net, and to Ken Klee, who made two great plays at 17:30 to stop Montreal drives.
Washington stopped doing the things that make the Caps successful in the second period, and the Canadiens punished them for it. Washington was outscored 3-1, beaten twice while killing penalties, but allowing three goals in situations where it has managed to prevail in recent games.
Former Caps Jan Bulis and Joe Juneau and the current Caps defense combined on the first goal, the defense failing to pick up Bulis. Juneau spotted him open, fed him and the wing got off a perfect shot that zipped through Kolzig’s legs, tying the game.
Yanic Perreault got his own rebound and dribbled a shot through Kolzig’s legs on a power play at 9:06, 21/2 minutes before Brian Savage lifted a loose puck over the goalie when the Washington defense failed to take control.
Peter Bondra got one back shortly after Savage scored when he ripped a wrist shot through Theodore’s legs from the hash marks, his team-high 13th of the season. It was Bondra’s first goal since Nov. 8 against Carolina, a stretch of seven games.
The only other noteworthy aspect of the second period was the penalty box, which Jagr visited for the first time this season. He was called for roughing at 11:19 when he took down defenseman Stephane Robidas near the net.
The lineup used by coach Ron Wilson last night was unchanged from Friday night, with right wing Dmitri Khristich and defenseman Joe Reekie the healthy scratches, joined by right wing Stephen Peat, who has apparently recovered sufficiently enough from his cold to be eligible to play if needed.

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