- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 27, 2002

SUNRISE, Fla. It ended the way it started the score tied, no winners, no losers and everybody went home feeling a little sorry.
The Washington Capitals were stoned by goalie Roberto Luongo when they had a golden opportunity late in the game and had to settle for a 1-1 overtime tie with the Florida Panthers.
The deadlock gives Washington a 4-3-1 record for the season, 3-3-1 on a road trip that finally ends tomorrow night in Pittsburgh.
Washington had its best chance of the night in overtime when Panthers defenseman Dmitry Yushkevich took a holding penalty with 2:10 left, giving the Caps a 4-on-3 advantage for two full minutes.
With Peter Bondra, Jaromir Jagr, Robert Lang and Sergei Gonchar on the ice for Washington, a goal seemed almost a certainty. But the four excellent shooters proved only that nothing is a certainty.
"They're going to go in sooner or later," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "We've got too many skilled guys; they're going to go in. When some of those other guys get in the mix, then we're going to be a dangerous team. But right now we're just having a tough time finding the back of the net."
The Caps had three shots on net during the extra period, all by Jagr. Luongo stopped all three, just as he had stopped 28 of 29 during regulation. He was clearly the difference, as was Craig Billington at the other end although he didn't have to face quite the barrage Luongo did.
"You don't say much to those guys when you put Bondra, Gonchar, Jagr and Lang on the ice," Cassidy said when asked if he gave his foursome instructions. "You expect them to be able to find the open man. I'm glad Jagr took charge out there. Some other night, he may get that shortside shelf goal, but it didn't work out. Hats off to Luongo."
Cassidy went back to four lines and six defensemen after using seven defensemen and 11 forwards Friday night at Tampa Bay. Nonetheless, the fourth line saw very little ice time as a unit, instead the individuals filling specific needs or spelling others in need of a quick rest.
There was immediate improvement over Friday night's miserable performance in a 3-2 loss in Tampa. For one thing, Washington trailed by only one goal after 20 minutes instead of two; for another, it actually led in shots 12-6 instead of trailing by about that margin, which often has been the case this season.
But that doesn't mean the people who came in to escape the Florida heat were entertained to a thrilling display of hockey. Tentative would be too aggressive an adjective to describe last night's game. It was slow and plodding; at least Washington had an excuse, playing its seventh straight on the road.
The Caps had a ton of good chances, starting when Kip Miller and Jeff Halpern broke in on a 2-on-1 just 90 seconds into the game. But all they accomplished was making Luongo's belly sore. Of his 12 saves in the first period, 10 had to come from blasts into his midsection.
The only score in the first 20 minutes came when there was a momentary breakdown by every Cap on the ice, everybody caught out of position. In the end, Kristian Huselius centered from behind the goal line straight to Ivan Novoseltsev, and he drilled a shot between Billington's pads at 14:36.
Lang tied the score five minutes into the second period on a play that often has worked against the Caps in the past. Lang came down the right side and tried to pass across to Jaromir Jagr on the left side. Defenseman Ivan Majesky got his stick on Lang's pass attempt and deflected it right past Luongo.

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