- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 18, 2003

DALLAS — Goalie Olie Kolzig got Washington’s six-game road trip off to a decent start on Monday by standing on his head to steal the Capitals a tie in Toronto.

Last night the usually rock-solid Kolzig cost the Caps a shot at upsetting Dallas, allowing goals on four of the first nine shots he faced as the Stars won 4-2 at American Airlines Arena.

“I didn’t play to the level the rest of the team played tonight,” the disappointed Kolzig said. “The puck wasn’t my ally tonight, that’s for sure. If we play like that, more often than not, we’re going to win. I let them down tonight.”

The loss extended the Caps’ winless streak to four games and dropped them to 1-3-1 heading into tonight’s contest in St. Louis. Washington outshot Dallas 25-18 on a night when the Stars had a 6-4 edge in power plays.

“You’re going to have games like that where they get a few breaks and you don’t,” Caps coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Let’s face it, Olie wasn’t on top of his game tonight.”

Washington, which fell to 2-8-1 in its last 10 games against Dallas, didn’t take long to fall behind, and Kolzig was the culprit. Dallas’ Pierre Turgeon carried the puck into the offensive zone before dropping a pass for linemate Scott Young, who one-timed a blast off a stick and past Kolzig from above the left circle at 3:48. It was the Stars’ first shot.

The Caps came up empty on a pair of power plays in the next five minutes despite having a 5-on-3 for 48 seconds as Dallas goalie Marty Turco stopped good chances by Jaromir Jagr at the right post and Peter Bondra from the right point.

But what Washington’s offensive stars couldn’t get done, fourth-line left wing Matt Pettinger did. Pettinger, who scored seven goals in his previous 76 games, jumped on a loose puck in the Dallas zone and lofted a shot that flew over Turco’s left shoulder to tie the game at 8:07.

A little over eight minutes later, the Stars swarmed the Washington zone and the effort paid off — with an assist from video goal judge Edd Baker. Dallas center Jason Arnott put the puck behind Kolzig with one skate in the net and the other in the crease, but the goal was allowed and the hosts led 2-1 at 16:45.

“I thought [Arnott] didn’t allow me to make the save because he was blocking my path to the post, but the ref said he got there when the puck got there so he was allowed to have that space,” Kolzig said.

Early in the second period, Washington’s Dainius Zubrus won a battle for the puck along the rear boards and threw it out front. Turco made the save, but Robert Lang deposited the rebound in the net to tie the game at 4:18.

Lang has a goal in three straight games, a point in five in a row and six points for the season, one shy of the league lead.

“Langer has been empowered,” Cassidy said. “He’s playing more in key situations. He has been given a power play unit to run, and he has handled the responsibility really well.”

Caps defenseman Brendan Witt then showed that he wasn’t going to let missing the past two games with a facial injury change his physical style as he got into a shoving match with the Stars’ Rob DiMaio at 9:34.

As if to answer Pettinger’s rare goal, the Stars reclaimed the lead at 11:50 on a score by normally defense-oriented defenseman Phillipe Boucher. The defenseman thwarted Mike Grier’s rush into the Dallas zone, turned the play the other way, took a feed from Mike Modano and beat Kolzig stick-side.

Next, with Sergei Gonchar in the box for covering up for a mistake by partner Josef Boumedienne, the Stars upped their advantage to 4-2 as Bill Guerin, standing to Kolzig’s right, put a puck between the goalie’s legs at 15:54.

“It was just an innocent play and it went right through my feet,” Kolzig said. “That was kind of a backbreaker down 3-2 in the other team’s building.”

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