- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2003

The similarities were so striking it was eerie. In fact, for fans of the Washington Capitals, it was downright scary.
Just 24 hours earlier the Caps carried a one-goal lead into the final minute of regulation and lost to New Jersey in overtime in a game they dominated. Last night, Washington was up by a goal as the third period crept along, and an instant replay from the previous night was in everybody's mind.
But Dainius Zubrus did what no Cap could do Saturday night he got the insurance score to power Washington to a 2-0 victory over a game but offensively inept Carolina team. Olie Kolzig got the shutout, his third of the season and 30th of his career. The initial Washington goal came from Jason Doig.
The victory boosted Washington back atop the Southeast Division, two points ahead of Tampa Bay, but the Lightning have two games in hand. Tampa Bay visits the Islanders in New York tomorrow night, while the Caps are in Buffalo.
"Yeah, it was mirroring [Saturday] night with the score, and it was tight late in the game, but they didn't have nearly as many chances as New Jersey did. [Goalie] Kevin Weekes played great for them, and they worked hard. Zubie did get the insurance goal, and that's huge. That takes a lot of pressure off [because you don't have to worry about] a puck taking a lucky bounce like it did the other night and losing in overtime," Kolzig said.
"[Saturday] night we played really well. We came within an inch of shutting them out. Tonight we stuck to the same game plan. You feel better about yourself when you win games like this. This is playoff hockey. This is how we have to play if we're going to be successful."
Doig's game-winner came at 5:23 of the first, an easy shot from the right side along the boards. The wrist shot carried about four feet off the surface and appeared to strike something just before entering the cage. Weekes never saw it. It was Doig's second of the season, which is a career high for the defenseman.
Zubrus' 10th of the campaign came at 8:22 of the third, and an audible sign of relief could be heard in MCI Center. By that time the fans were well aware that last night's game was following a familiar path.
There were three shots on the play, two by the big wing. Peter Bondra got the puck back to Zubrus the second time, and he ripped one into the top right corner, being rewarded for a lot of hard work.
"It's always nice to get that," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Again, I don't think there's any panic mode or anything like that. We were under control. But after what happened less than 24 hours earlier, you still have those doubts."
Washington had a perfect night on special teams, which is both good and bad news. The good news is that the Caps easily killed off Carolina's three power plays. The bad news is that the Caps failed to score on any of their six power-play chances, getting 10 shots but putting nothing behind Weekes.
"It's struggling," Cassidy said. "We've run into some hot goaltending, but we can be better on that. But I think it goes back to basics get pucks through to the net. But we'll stick with it; as long as we're winning when it struggles, that's all that counts."
It is a horrible ending for the Hurricanes. Last season they soared to the Stanley Cup Finals; this season they are dead last in the league, 15 games below .500. They are winless in 15 straight road games (0-11-2-2), tying the franchise record for futility. And Weekes is 1-14-3 in his last 18 games, with the one victory coming over the Caps last month.

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