Capitals Stop Lightning

Over their first five games, the Washington Capitals were the worst in the league in killing penalties. Since then, they've been almost perfect.

The Capitals killed off seven more Tuesday night, including three in the third period, and Jan Bulis scored the winning goal with 12:41 to play in a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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  • Since the awful start, the Capitals have successfully fended off 40 of 41 power plays, including 32 straight. All it took, according to goalkeeper Olaf Kolzig, was an education course for new Capitals Joe Sacco and Jeff Halpern.

    "We had two new guys, Sacco and Halpern, who didn't understand," Kolzig said. "We had a meeting, and ever since then it's been unbelievable."

    Bulis scored his seventh goal of the season on a two-on-one break with Steve Konowalchuk.

    Olaf Kolzig made 28 saves for the Capitals, who have three of four overall and three in a row at home.

    The penalty-kill streak seemed in doubt when Dmitri Mironov was given a four-minute double minor for high sticking Stan Drulia in the face with three seconds to play in the second period. The Capitals protested the call at length, even as Drulia lay on the ice receiving medical attention.

    But the Lightning, who had at least one power-play goal in each of their previous five games, managed nly two shots during the advantage and didn't even get the full four minutes because Chris Gratton hooked Peter Bondra from behind on a shorthanded breakaway.

    Then, when Bulis was called for boarding with 8:21, Gratton again spoiled the power play by drawing a four-minute sticking penalty 39 seconds later. The Caps then drew another penalty, giving Tampa Bay a four-on-three advantage that also failed to produce a goal.

    "We have no excuse," right wing Stephane Richer said. "We had our power plays, we had our chances, we didn't bear down."

    Dan Cloutier had 36 saves in an outstanding game for the Lightning.

    In the first period, Bondra scored his 30th goal in his 30th career game against Tampa Bay. Rookie Glen Metropolit slid the puck to Bondra, who scored easily from the right of the crease at the 5:37 mark for his 10th goal of the season.

    Fredrik Modin started the play that tied the game for the Lightning at 3:44 of the second period. Modin intercepted a clearing pass from Mironov in the Capitals' zone, circled behind the net and crossed to Robert Petrovicky, who scored from just inside the left circle.

    Washington's victory tied the two teams for third place in the Southeast Division standings. For the Capitals, that's a disappointment. For the Lightning, who have recent wins over Detroit, Pittsburgh and Dallas, it's better than a lot of people expected.

    "It's a tough loss for us," Richer said. "It's difficult to say, 'Let's be satisfied with the week we had.' It doesn't work like this."

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