Capitals Burn Devils

Like many Washington Capitals, Dmitri Mironov had a big zero next to his name for a long time. Goal No. 1 was quite a relief.

Mironov and James Black scored for the first time this season as the Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 Saturday night. The other Washington goals came from Adam Oates and Ken Klee, who had also been scoreless until the previous game against the New York Rangers.

Both Klee and Mironov scored after the Capitals won faceoffs in the Devils zone. Klee got the game-winner 2:48 into the third period. Mironov, who had back surgery early in the summer, had tied the game 2-2 at 11:22 of the second.

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  • "A lot of people were on his case," Washington coach Ron Wilson said. "People forget that if you're a normal office worker and you have back surgery, you don't go to work for six months. You take worker's comp and you sit at home with a remote control in your hand. This guy's been working his butt off to get back into form and slowly but surely it's coming."

    Mironov logged 31 minutes on the ice, more than any player except the goaltender, as the Capitals went primarily with four defensemen because of an injury to Sergei Gonchar.

    "I would love to get one goal every game," said Mironov, laughing. "But it would never happen."

    Olaf Kolzig made 32 saves for the Capitals, and a couple of them weren't too far short of amazing. In the first period, he dove to his left and thrust his stick in the air to ba away Bobby Holik's shot. In the third, on a power play with about 13 minutes to go, Kolzig extended his right leg backward to stop Patrik Elias' breakaway chance and preserve the lead.

    Jason Arnott and Randy McKay scored for the Devils, who fell to 0-4 on the second leg when playing on back-to-back nights.

    "Our schedule allows us to fail," Holik said. "It seems like the first month-and-a-half of the year we don't play all week and then we play back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday night. That's not an excuse. It's not unbearable. It didn't matter last year."

    Oates opened the scoring on a power play at 11:17 of the first period. Calle Johansson hit a slap shot well to the right of the net, but it ricocheted off the boards behind the net right to Oates, who slid the puck in from the right of the crease.

    The Devils tied it at 5:31 of the second when Petr Sykora made a nice spin move before sliding the puck across the crease to Arnott, who got his fourth goal of the season.

    New Jersey took the lead one second after a Capitals power expired at 9:53 of the second period. Scott Gomez picked up his 15th assist with a feed to McKay, who was left unchecked by the crease for his fifth goal.

    The goal was essentially a power-play goal, coming one second after a Capitals penalty expired, but it doesn't count as one. Washington thus extended its streak to nine games without allowing a man-advantage score.

    Oates won the faceoff that set up Mironov's goal to make it 2-2, and Andre Nikolishin took the draw that gave Klee a chance to beat goalie Martin Brodeur high to the glove side for the game-winner.

    Black added an empty-net goal with 1.9 seconds to play.

    The goals from new sources came at an opportune time because Jan Bulis, the team's second leading scorer with seven goals, missed the game because of back spasms.

    "It's not a team of superstars," Klee said. "You look at a team like Dallas who won the Cup. Look at how many players on their team scored 10 goals. They didn't have 50-goal scorers. That's the way you win."

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