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Bondra's Hat Trick Lifts Caps


Washington Capitals right wing Peter Bondra was a little bewildered Saturday night.

"It's

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  • hard to figure out this game, especially if you're a goal scorer," he said after leading the Capitals to an 8-5 victory over the Ottawa Senators. "You play 10 games, take 40 shots a night and don't get anything. Tonight, I only needed five shots to get three goals."

    Bondra tied for the NHL lead last season with 52 goals and entered Saturday night's game with the most goals (186) of any NHL player since 1994-95. Then he notched his third, fourth and fifth goals of the season despite not taking a shot in the first period.

    His timing couldn't have been better for the Capitals, who were winless in six games and struggling with the NHL's weakest offense, scoring less than two goals a game, although they have nine regulars out with injuries.

    Joe Juneau had two goals and an assist, including the winning goal on a third-period power play, and James Black, Dmitri Mironov and Mike Eagles also scored for Washington.

    David Oliver, with his first two goals as a Senator 1:27 apart in the second period, Shawn McEachern, Andreas Johansson and Alexei Yashin scored for Ottawa.

    "It felt good at the time, then they snatched it away from us," Oliver said.

    Washington goaltender Mike Rosati, 30, spent the past eight years in Italy and Germany. He earned his first win in his first NHL appearance Saturday, turning aside all 13 shots he faced.

    "It's not the way you expect to appear in your first NHL game," said Rosati, who relaced starter Olaf Kolzig after he gave up three goals in a 2:17 span midway through the second period. "I'm just happy the puck went in more for us."

    The Capitals had lost seven of eight regular season games to the Senators the past two seasons, including all four in Ottawa, while being outscored 27-8.

    "I'm very happy with the win," Capitals coach Ron Wilson said. "(Rosati) wasn't meant to spark the team. I had to get Olie out of there. He's been struggling."

    Ottawa goalie Ron Tugnutt was beaten by Juneau at 3:14 and Black at 5:29 of the first period, on the Caps' fourth and sixth shots. Tugnutt came into the game with seven wins in his last eight regular season games against Washington.

    Bondra and Johansson traded second-period goals. Then Oliver's two goals and another by Yashin in a 2:17 span chased Kolzig at 11:49. Bondra and Mironov scored for Washington to tie it 5-5 after two periods.

    Damian Rhodes also had rough ride in the third period after replacing Tugnutt in Ottawa's net, giving up goals to Juneau, Eagles and Bondra.

    "There were so many mistakes made out there, mental-lapse mistakes by both teams," Tugnutt said. "It's not often you see four goaltenders in a game."

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