- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 26, 2003

MONTREAL Washington Capitals coach Bruce Cassidy wasn't surprised that Montreal had a breakaway or two yesterday during overtime. That's going to happen when you have a relatively offensive-minded team.
Another guy who wasn't all that surprised by the breakaways was goalie Olie Kolzig. He's seen that before and all too often. In fact, Kolzig is actually quite good at stopping them now he turned away two clean breakaways in the overtime when his team was outshot 5-2 which is why the Caps walked away from Bell Centre with a 1-1 draw.
The tie earned the Caps a critical point in the standings and kept Washington unbeaten in its last three games (1-0-2).
"I thought we played well enough to get a point if not both of them," Cassidy said after his team outplayed the Canadiens for most of the afternoon but couldn't get more than one shot past Jose Theodore.
The Caps had a fairly sizable shooting advantage (35-30), but Montreal did an excellent job of keeping rebounds to a minimum. And one of the few times the Canadiens failed to do so cost them.
"In overtime, we played to win a lot of times; we have a lot of offensive-minded guys," Cassidy said. "I certainly wasn't surprised we gave up a breakaway."
Actually, it was two if anyone besides Kolzig was counting. Those incidents tend to come when the offensive-minded people fail to pay attention to both ends of the ice and their goalie gets to know the opposition up close and personal.
Aging veteran Doug Gilmour bore down on Kolzig at 2:50 of overtime and tried a backhand; Kolzig made an effortless stop.
Patrick Traverse was the second intruder, slipping in with 25 seconds remaining. He tried a forehand shot without a lot of mustard, and Kolzig kicked that out, too.
The game reached the extra period because of two guys playing on the Caps' fourth line, Dainius Zubrus and Andreas Salomonsson. Zubrus sent a shot in on Theodore, and the goalie rejected it. It appeared the puck would clear the zone, but Josh Green stopped it from exiting and sent it back toward the crease. There Salomonsson hammered once but was stopped. He hammered a second time and got it past Theodore for his first goal of the season.
Salomonsson, normally a wing, didn't even know if he would play yesterday. Cassidy decided to take big Alex Henry out because Montreal doesn't really have a physical force who Henry could match up against.
"It was a decision I made this morning," Cassidy said. "We talked with Salomonsson on [Friday] about maybe moving him into the middle, see if that helps. We tried that [yesterday], and he responded well so maybe there's something there."
Salomonsson was obtained from New Jersey off waivers on Oct.#16 and has played in only 30 games, often with little success. His defense was fair, but there seemed to be little in the way of offense until yesterday.
The Montreal goal came early. Montreal was on the power play with Brian Sutherby serving an extra minor after a dust-up with Craig Rivet. Gilmour started the small melee when he speared Michael Nylander directly in front of the Montreal net and sent the Caps center to the ice. There was no call, so Sutherby decided to send his own message.
On the goal, Patrice Brisebois fired from the left side along the blue line with Saku Koivu running interference in front of the net. The puck arrived on the scene, glanced off defenseman Ken Klee, struck Koivu on the left thigh and bounced high in the air. Kolzig didn't see the puck until it whizzed past his left ear. He stabbed at it but not in time. It was just out of his reach and entered the net just beyond his glove.
The goal was the 15th of the season for Koivu and the 100th of his NHL career. That in itself is a remarkable feat; a year ago he was suffering from stomach cancer and there was doubt he would ever play the game again.
Defenseman Jason Doig, who has played very well since he was recalled from Portland, Maine, on Dec.#3, pulled a hamstring late in the first period and did not return. His availability for today's home game against the New York Rangers was not known.


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