- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2003

BOSTON The Washington Capitals got a point on the road yesterday, which is better than losing. Nonetheless, there certainly was a feeling something had been lost after the game.

The Caps blew a two-goal lead not once but twice and failed to cover the most dangerous line on a one-line team. The result? Washington allowed Boston to rally to earn a 3-3 overtime deadlock.

Robert Lang and Peter Bondra staked the Caps to a 2-0 first-period lead. After Boston's Joe Thornton scored on a power play, Sergei Gonchar put the lead back to two when he tallied from the right point with two seconds left in the second period.

A tired Washington team was dominating a Boston team that had fallen on hard times and was doing it on the road. The third period should have been a cakewalk but wasn't.

"You go into intermission up 3-1 and on the road, you just play smart hockey," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "But on the penalty kill we were running around a lot, lost our composure, which has been a strength of ours lately, and ultimately we did a great job on [the penalty kill] at the end. I'd just like to see us be as aggressive all the time, and we weren't on the one that cost us.

"In the end we get a point out of a game where we didn't play great. I think the way our team was two weeks ago I would have fully expected our team to go out and get it done and win. Now we've slipped back to where we were before [the team went on a streak of 8-0-3-3]. There was a point there in the third, giving up two 2-on-1s right out of the gate. That's the old Capitals, where we were in November. I had to sit down and address that again. Guys have to be respectful of what's going on on the ice and then play for the win."

Instead, Washington is now winless in four (0-2-1-1). It has five games remaining before the All-Star break, starting with Carolina at home tomorrow. When Washington plays host to Pittsburgh on Jan.30, it will be playing its 12th game in a period of 20 days.

Brian Rolston and Glen Murray, the rest of Boston's only potent line along with Thornton (who had a hand in all three goals), scored the third-period goals that gave the Bruins an unbeaten streak of two (1-0-1) after a stretch in which they won only three of their previous 18 games. Boston caught a lucky break on one goal and caught the Caps in an odd manpower situation in the other.

Defenseman Bryan Berard hammered a shot at Olie Kolzig three minutes into the third on a power play, and the goalie turned it aside. However, he seemingly lost track of the rebound and turned to his left when the puck bounced out to his right. All Rolston had to do was race in and tap the puck home before Kolzig realized what was going on.

Murray tied the game with only 4:26 to go in regulation. Boston had been applying prolonged heavy pressure, and Washington was unable to clear. The right line was on the ice at the time, Jeff Halpern's reunited checking unit, but two newcomers on defense, Jason Doig and Joel Kwiatkowski, were trying to hold off the top Boston line.

Murray finally let a rocket go from the middle of the blue line into a crowd, and Kolzig never saw it.

The game may have turned a little both ways during the third. The Caps were given an opportunity to put the game away halfway through the period when Berard drew a double minor for high sticking but went the first 2½ minutes without even taking a shot and failed to score. Then, with 2:18 to go in regulation and the Bruins with momentum, Halpern took the same penalty, but his teammates managed to kill it.


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