- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 24, 2004

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Before last night’s game against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum, the one part of the Washington Capitals’ offense that had been working was the power play. However, a failed chance on a two-man advantage led to a swing in momentum in the Islanders’ 3-0 victory.

Trailing 1-0 midway through the second period, the Caps began the power play when the Islanders’ Kenny Jonsson was whistled for tripping. A little more than a minute later the Islanders were caught with too many men on the ice and Washington had 57 seconds worth of a two-man advantage — a huge opportunity for a team that had scored all seven of its goals in its previous three games on the power play.

Though the Caps’ lethargic offense did wake up during the two-man advantage, Washington still was unable to score. And within two minutes of the failed opportunity the Islanders scored twice to make it 3-0.

“We have to score on the power play because 5-on-5 we don’t generate a lot,” Caps coach Glen Hanlon said. “If it clicked there, we had a chance to win the game.”

Adrian Aucoin’s slap shot from the right point eluded Olie Kolzig at 13:34 of the second after a failed clearing attempt by the Caps to make the score 2-0. Alexei Yashin then scored off a rush at 14:51 of the period when his centering feed deflected into the net off of back-checking Caps defenseman Todd Rohloff.

Washington had several good chances on the two-man advantage, but Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro made several big stops, none better than his glove save while laying flat on his back on Kip Miller’s shot. Moments later Miller missed the net completely on a right wing shot with DiPietro down and out of the play.

DiPietro, who posted a shutout in his previous start Sunday against Tampa Bay, made 17 saves for his fifth blanking of the season.

The Caps, shut out for the fifth time this season, have now played 258 minutes and three seconds without scoring an even-strength goal. Brian Willsie owns the Caps most recent even-strength goal at 8:15 of the third period in Atlanta on March13.

Trailing 3-0, Hanlon inserted rookie Matthew Yeats between the pipes at the start of the third period. The 25-year-old Yeats became the ninth Caps player this season to make his NHL debut. He also became the 48th player to don the Caps sweater this season, a franchise record.

“My first thought was ‘Uh-oh,’” said Yeats upon being told of Hanlon’s decision. “I was nervous and stressed out, but it worked out tonight. It’s a great honor to play in the NHL.”

The rookie acquitted himself well in his debut, stopping all 14 shots that he faced.

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