Capitals Comeback Trips Isles


The Washington Capitals might consider playing at the Nassau Coliseum more often.

Peter Bondra scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in the final period as the Washington Capitals beat the New York Islanders 4-3 on Saturday night.

The win was the Capitals' sixth straight on Long Island since a 2-0 loss on Dec. 7, 1996. It was also the 200th coaching victory for the Capitals' Ron Wilson.

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Game summary

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  • "I honestly didn't even realize it until there were about five seconds left in the game," said Wilson, who improved his career record to 200-209-53.

    Wilson was most happy that the team is back at .500 (9-9-4) with the win.

    "Getting back to .500 is a psychological hurdle," Wilson said. "When you're below it, it's hard to get to, and surprisingly when you're above, it sort of keeps you from dropping below."

    The Islanders started the game with two goals in 14 seconds to grab a quick 2-0 lead. Tim Connolly scored a fluke goal at 4:01 and Gino Odjick converted Brad Isbister's cross-ice pass with a one-timer over goalie Craig Billington's glove at 4:15.

    The Islanders outshot Washington 19-6 and had the momentum until Steve Konowalchuk blasted a 20-foot shot over Felix Potvin's right shoulder with three seconds left in the period.

    "We had the period in hand until there wre five seconds left," Isbister said. "It's discouraging. We changed our game and we can't do that."

    Islanders captain Kenny Jonsson was more upset about only scoring twice in the period.

    "It takes a lot of your heart when you lose the way we did," Jonsson said. "We should have had five or six goals in the first period."

    The Capitals tied the game at 2:06 of the second period when Potvin gave up a rare bad goal as he fanned on James Black's shot from the left side, right on the blue line. The puck went past Potvin's stick-save attempt and caught the far corner.

    New York took one more lead at 9:57 when rookie defenseman Mathieu Biron rushed the puck in and passed to Mariusz Czerkawski for a short-side high wrist shot from the right side.

    "We still had the lead after two periods," Czerkawski said. "We just made a couple of mistakes."

    Bondra capitalized on both. He sent a bullet over Potvin's right shoulder to tie the game with one second left on a power play at 4:28.

    Adam Oates, who assisted on the tying goal, extended his point-scoring streak to four games.

    And at 13:59, defenseman Sergei Gonchar sent a blind, spinaround pass from the right point toward the net. Bondra, alone at the left crease, took the pass and converted a wrist shot.

    "They made a couple of breakdowns in their end," Wilson said, "and when you have guys like Bondra and Oates on the ice, it usually works to our advantage."

    Billington, who came off two straight shutouts, stopped Claude Lapointe twice in the period on breakaways, but made his best save with 15 seconds left and the Islanders up two men because of a penalty to Bondra and Potvin out of the net for an extra attacker.

    Billington smothered Isbister's shot off a faceoff scramble with his right pad for his third straight win.

    "We got kind of lucky tonight," Wilson said. "They had us in a bad position and let us off the floor."

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