- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 20, 2001

Just a hair more than a minute into the second period last night, Washington's Peter Bondra scored on a power play. Forty-nine seconds later, Jaromir Jagr scored even strength, and for all practical purposes the game was over.

The Capitals scored four times in the middle period, three of them power play goals, and defeated Montreal 4-1, ending the Canadiens' perfect penalty-killing record (34-for-34) in the process.

There is no other way to describe the victory other than impressive. The Caps had just come off a five-game coast-to-coast trip that started Oct. 7, and first games back are usually a disaster. Not the case, not even close.

Bondra had two goals and an assist; Jagr looked like his old self after being out for more than a week with a strained knee; Trevor Linden, robbed of potential game-winners twice on the West Coast, got his first of the season.

"It was kind of exciting especially after a road trip like that," Bondra said. "We almost play the game like a road trip. We prepared like it was before hand, we talked about penalty-killing and how well they had been playing lately. And pretty much we did the things we're supposed to do, especially through the second and third periods."

Washington scored three times in less than six minutes early in the second to ice the game, especially the way it was playing defense behind goalie Olie Kolzig, who stopped a penalty shot by Chad Kilger in the third period. But it may have been watching videotape that gave the Caps a clue as to how to score on the Canadiens while a man up.

"We watched a lot of what they were doing," said coach Ron Wilson. "We saw particularly that some teams hadn't gotten many point shots and our power play is based on the point shot. Once we broke the ice and scored the first power play goal, everything else fell into place."

Goalie Jose Theodore had been beaten by a Bondra missile and less than a minute later watched helplessly as Jagr came down the middle of the ice on a break-away.

"Joe Reekie made a nice pass, and then I was 1-on-1 against the goalie and I didn't know what I should do," the five-time scoring champion said. "I thought I should shoot, but this time I tried to take the goalie. He was in good position, and I wanted to make sure I gave him a good move."

In Anaheim and twice against Los Angeles, Linden had what appeared to be unstoppable opportunities only to be stopped. He spent a five-hour flight shaking his head in bewilderment.

"I had two opportunities to win games for our team, so it was nice to finally get one," Linden said. "If you focus on the process, the result is going to come but it is frustrating when you have two great chances. It seems that happens to you once a year, not twice in the same week."

Notes Nikolishin and Dainius Zubrus are the only two Caps who have not been on the ice this season for an even-strength goal against. … Bondra had points in four straight games before last night, a streak that has grown by one. … It took the Caps 19 games to win four games last season. … The Caps have given up the first goal in six out of seven games this season. … Defenseman Rob Zettler and right wing Dmitri Khristich were the Caps' healthy scratches. …

Doug Gilmour postponed his entry into the Hall of Fame by a year when he made his season debut for the Canadiens. … Montreal opened the season unbeaten in five (4-0-1) but has now lost two straight. … Canadiens Richard Zednik, Jan Bulis and Joe Juneau are all former Caps. … Montreal has been outshot in six out of seven games.

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