- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2005

RALEIGH, N.C. — Mercifully, Washington Capitals coach Glen Hanlon pulled goalie Olie Kolzig last night with 12 minutes to go in the third period. The veteran was trailing by four goals but there was a lot more to it than that.

With a 7-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Caps’ record fell to 2-3 on the season. Washington has not outshot a single opponent, not even in either of its victories. Carolina outshot the Caps 36-28.

There’s more. Washington has scored six power-play goals this season; the opposition has scored 13. Last night the Hurricanes had three power-play tallies in seven opportunities, the Caps had none in six.

“Yeah, I had a great pass there in the second period, a wide-open net, would have made the score 3-2 [in the Caps’ favor] but we have to take responsibility and execute on those,” said left wing Jeff Friesen, who was part of a Stanley Cup-winning team with the New Jersey Devils.

“It’s a different game now. They kill off [a penalty] and then their power play was going,” he continued. “It’s a special teams game now. That’s what it’s coming down to because there’s so many penalties. For the time being until we get adjusted and become more disciplined, special teams are the difference. That’s been the story in the games we’ve played and around the league.”

Into the game came Brent Johnson, picked up on waivers about a week ago. He made his Washington debut and soon found out what he was facing as Carolina got off 11 more shots. Seven minutes after he stepped between the pipes, left wing Niklas Nordgren, a rookie from Sweden, recorded his first NHL goal when he was left alone for far too long.

Welcome to Washington, Mr. Johnson.

The score had been just 3-2 Carolina entering the third period after Kolzig was screened on two of the Hurricanes goals. The last one of the second period was a killer — defenseman Bret Hedican putting a shot into the far left corner just out of Kolzig’s reach with 1:24 left in the period.

Carolina stormed out to a 6-2 lead in the first eight minutes of the third.

The loss somewhat diminished a spectacular effort by Alex Ovechkin in the first period when, while being double-shifted on the Andrew Cassels line, he took the puck and went in alone on Cam Ward, deking right and going left for the score.

“I didn’t even see it, Cassels told me I score,” Ovechkin said. “I never see it. We didn’t win, that’s all I know.”

The Caps’ other goal was very strange. On a delayed penalty call, defenseman Niclas Wallin turned to pass the puck to Ward to give the Hurricanes time to get organized. Only Ward wasn’t there; he had headed to the bench for an extra attacker. The attempted pass went right into the middle of the Carolina net for a goal credited to Dainius Zubrus, the last Cap to touch the puck.

Notes — Defenseman Mike Green celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday while also taking part in his first NHL game. Green was called up from Hershey on Tuesday. It was somewhat fitting that Ovechkin’s prettiest goal — to date — and Green’s debut came in the building where they were drafted in June 2004. … Center and team captain Jeff Halpern was off last night to observe Yom Kippur. … Attendance was announced as 10,968 and that appeared to be inflated by a few thousand. … The Caps play host to the New York Islanders tonight and are off tomorrow.

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