- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 27, 2005

NEW YORK — Marek Malik was scoreless in 24 games this season before last night. In fact, the Czech Republic native has scored just 27 goals in an NHL career of more than 500 games. In other words, he’s not known as much of a scorer.

That changed last night. While the goal by the 30-year-old defenseman won’t count on his stat sheet, it ended the longest shootout in NHL history — 15 rounds — and gave the New York Rangers a 3-2 victory over the stubborn Washington Capitals. The win extended New York’s winning streak to five games.

Four Rangers and three Caps scored in the 15-round shootout. The previous record was nine rounds.

Malik was considered virtually no threat, but he pulled a move on Olie Kolzig the goalie never expected. It even surprised the players on the New York bench.

Malik approached the net and shifted the puck back and forth, forehand to backhand. As he neared the crease, he put the puck on his right side, then smoothly tucked it between his legs and backhanded it through the goalie’s legs.

“I didn’t expect a guy like that to make a move like that,” Kolzig said. “That’s something you just see in practice usually, but give the guy credit, he had the guts to pull it off. But we had chances. It was a hard fight. I thought we deserved better than overtime or a shootout loss.”

Washington was down 2-0 seconds after the second period opened but battled back with goals by Chris Clark (his sixth) and Brian Willsie (fifth) to tie the game halfway through the period. But that was the last goal until the shootout.

Washington had plenty of chances, and so did the Rangers, but the problem was both penalty-killing units were perfect. The Caps were stopped seven times and the Rangers five. The only miscue Washington made was the opening goal of the game — 17:16 into the first — when defenseman Bryan Muir lost the puck on a power play and Jason Ward buried it behind Kolzig for a short-handed goal.

To open overtime, the Caps pulled off a sneaky maneuver. They challenged the legality of former Caps star Jaromir Jagr’s stick, and it was ruled illegal, giving Washington a two-minute power play to open the extra five-minute period. The Caps failed to do anything with the advantage, just as the Rangers failed to convert one a few minutes later.

Andrew Cassels, Willsie and Muir scored for Washington in the shootout, but 12 other Caps couldn’t get the puck past Henrik Lundqvist. One of those who missed was rookie Alex Ovechkin, who failed to score in a shootout for the first time. He was 3-for-3 entering the competition.

Also failing to score was Jagr, who was noticeably upset that his stick had been challenged and probably more upset it had been found to be illegal.

Notes — Defenseman Brendan Witt left the game for good nine minutes into the second period last night, playing just nine shifts. His injury was described as “lower body.” …

Defensemen Mathieu Biron (for the ninth straight game) and Nolan Yonkman were the healthy scratches. Yonkman didn’t even make the trip because Biron was on hand just in case. … Center Dainius Zubrus (groin), left wing Jeff Friesen (groin) and right wing Stephen Peat (broken hand) were the medical scratches. …

The Caps’ longest stretch this season without a game, five days, was interrupted when the league rescheduled the game postponed by Hurricane Wilma against the Florida Panthers for Thursday.

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