Capitals Hang On To Top Devils

Capitals' Jeff Halpern (11) puts the puck into the net over Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.
The Washington Capitals didn't use a prescribed success formula, giving the New Jersey Devils nine power-play chances Saturday.

And the Caps were burned twice of scores by the NHL's second-ranked power play. Still, Washington won 3-2.

Peter Bondra scored short-handed to spark a three-goal first period outburst that carried the Caps to the win.

"It's not what we wanted to see, especially against a skilled team like New Jersey," Bondra said of the nine penalty kills. "We killed them and Ollie (Kolzig) was there for us early to make some unbelievable stops."

Kolzig, who finished with 33 saves, wants to see his club stay out of the penalty box.

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  • "We got scrambling a little bit," he said. "Guys got tired a little bit because we had to kill off so many penalties. We have to recognize that we're not going anywhere unless we start being a lot more disciplined."

    Chris Simon and Jeff Halpern also scored for the Caps, 7-3-2 in their last 12 games.

    New Jersey, which lost its second straight following a nine-game unbeaten streak, got goals from Scott Niedermayer and Sergei Brylin.

    Bondra opened the scoring at 10:12 with a short-handed goal. He had a clear lane when Devils pointman Petr Sykora fell down, springing Bondra for a breakaway.

    Simon swatted home his own rebound from the slot for a power-play goal at 16:5. Halpern followed up 46 seconds later as he took a backhand centering feed from Ulf Dahlen to beat Martin Brodeur.

    The 3-0 deficit was too much for the Devils to overcome.

    "We played well in the first period," Brodeur said. "It's tough on the special teams when they scored on the power play and on the penalty kill.

    "It's hard to recover but we deserve a lot of credit for hanging in."

    The Devils, who misfired on their first five power-play chances, connected on the next two to cut the Caps' lead to 3-2 on second period goals by Niedermayer and Brylin.

    Niedermayer abandoned his point position to crash the slot to swat a shot past Kolzig at 13:40. Brylin took a return pass from Alexander Mogilny at 18:07 and drilled a shot from the slot past Kolzig.

    The Caps played outstanding defense in the third period, limiting the Devils to only five shots.

    "In the third, they really shut us down," Brodeur said. "Kolzig was the big reason they stayed ahead the whole game."


  • Bondra played in his 700th game, becoming the seventh Capital to reach that milestone with the club.
  • The Devils' power play, ranked second in the NHL, has struggled at home. The two power-play goals were only their third in the last 26 chances covering six home games.
  • The Capitals extended their unbeaten streak in afternoon games to nine at 6-0-3. They last lost a matinee in the final game of the 1998-99 season, a 3-0 to Buffalo, a game that started at 3 p.m.
  • The goal was the first for Niedermayer since ending a 19-game contract holdout.

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