- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 9, 2003

BOSTON Sebastien Charpentier said he missed the last shot "by this much," holding his thumb and index finger about a half-inch apart. Close but no cigar.
The Washington Capitals staged one of the best rallies in their history yesterday at FleetCenter, coming back from a three-goal deficit before losing in overtime to Boston 5-4. It was the Bruins' third straight victory and the seventh straight game in which the Caps have picked up at least one point.
And it was a huge point. Washington went back in front of Tampa Bay by two points in their battle for the Southeast Division title; the Lightning play host to Buffalo tonight. Washington has a dozen games left, Tampa Bay 14.
The Caps played a horrible first 10 minutes so much so that starting goalie Olie Kolzig was pulled then responsibly the rest of the way. Boston's winning goal came from Sean O'Donnell 2:15 into overtime after he took a crossing pass and Charpentier was unable to get all the way back after blocking one side.
That spoiled an otherwise great afternoon, except for those first 10 minutes. The key thing was, the Caps did not quit and had chances to win the game outright.
"It was a good point," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "When you're down 3-0 and you haven't broken a sweat yet … We got a point out of it, so obviously you're happy, but you're not satisfied when you lose. But in this case our guys did some real good things together. Charpy sat on the bench for a long time and came in there and held us in, and that's not easy.
"I liked [Jaromir] Jagr's determination tonight; obviously, we tried to get him better matchups, and he worked real hard to help us with that. There were a lot of good things, including some power play goals."
What the Caps wanted to do was go out and chip away, get one goal then concentrate on a second. And they did. They outscored Boston 2-1 in the second to make it a one-goal game.
Less than two minutes into the third period, Peter Bondra ripped a one-timer past Jeff Hackett, and the matinee crowd that had been cheering was booing instead.
"For the most part, we played our game," Cassidy said. "We were clearly better for the last 50 minutes than we were for the first 10."
The opening 10 minutes of the game was about as repulsive a span as the Caps have gone through in ages. Half the Bruins' six shots got through, two on the power play. Kolzig lasted only 10:04, but he was hardly to blame for the four-minute onslaught.
It started 6:05 in when the Bruins caught Washington with its fourth line and third defensive pair on the ice. The defenders started moving in helter-skelter fashion. At a key moment, Jason Doig tripped Kolzig as the defenseman passed in front of the cage, and P.J. Alexsson used that opportunity to fire into a vacant net.
At 7:33, Glen Murray was left alone at the inside edge of the right circle on a power play, Joe Thornton hit him with a pass, and Kolzig was defenseless.
At 10:04, it was Murray again, with the Caps doing his work. Joel Kwiatkowski stood in front of Kolzig, blocking the goalie's vision. Murray spotted the screen and shot around it. That brought in Charpentier.
With the Caps down 3-0, it was time for fisticuffs. Stephen Peat took on Krzys Oliwa, Alex Henry fought P.J. Stock, and Thornton went after Brendan Witt. All six drew fighting majors, and Thornton was hit with an extra minor for roughing.
Nearly 14 minutes into the first, Michael Nylander shot at Hackett, and the goalie didn't cover the rebound. Steve Konowalchuk took care of that by lifting it into the cage, and Washington was on the board.
Almost five minutes into the second with the Bruins holding a two-goal lead, Hackett and Thornton tried to be cute with the puck. Mike Grier made them pay, sweeping it away from Thornton, going in 1-on-1 on Hackett and beating him for his second shorthanded goal of the season.
Washington relaxed momentarily, and Boston made the Caps pay again. This time Mike Knuble shot, then chased his own rebound. He got behind the Caps' defense and put the rebound behind Charpentier.
Lang made up for that one with four minutes left in the second by beating Hackett between the legs, leaving Washington down one going into the third.

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