Recap:  Capitals at Hurricanes     by: Mike Smuland         March 9, 2002





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The showdown for Southeast supremacy lived up to its billing as a playoff-caliber match. Carolina withheld a rare five on three disadvantage in overtime to gain a point and keep the Capitals at arms length with a 2-2 tie in Raleigh.

Save for two goals, twelve seconds apart early in the second period, the Caps were unable to beat Arturs Irbe. Jaromir Jagr evened the score at 1 from the slot as the Capitals took advantage of their first power play at 1:11 of the middle frame. Adam Oates and Glen Metropolit played hot potato between the goal line and right face-off circle before Oates dished to Jagr, whose partially whiffed shot bounced off the Carolina defense and in.

A mere dozen ticks later, a wide-open Peter Bondra converted a cross-ice pass from Chris Simon, lifting the puck high up the middle over a sliding Irbe. J.F. Fortin notched his first NHL point with the secondary assist.

Unfortunately, shots to Irbeís chest were common and Washington lacked the ability to finish chances even after holding a 23-9 shot advantage midway through the game. From that point on, the Canes out shot the Capitals - including 7-0 during the remainder of the second period - while simultaneously holding a massive advantage in hits.

Olie Kolzig held strong while the Caps reversed roles with Carolina. The Canesí effort paid off with Ron Francisí second power play goal of the contest as he fired a rebound past a helpless Kolzig. The shot followed a suspect non-call as Erik Cole hauled down Brendan Witt behind the Washington net.

The opening goal came early in the opening period as Ron Francis knocked the puck out of mid-air. A video review was inconclusive as to whether it was punched in or deflected off the shaft of his stick.

Carolina held on during the third (figuratively and quite literally) as the refs swallowed their whistles, leading to a crucial overtime period for Washington. Their efforts were helped when Glen Wesley was sent off for a deliberate slash that cracked Jagrís stick into pieces.

With forty-four seconds remaining on that penalty, Washington was given a 5-on-3 following a delay of game call against Irbe, who lifted the puck over the glass on a clearing attempt from behind the net. Ron Wilson fully used the situation to his advantage by swapping goaltenders, giving his power play squad time to catch its breath. Even with the breather, the Caps failed to best Irbe and the Canes.

Notes:

Following the tie, Washington trails Carolina by ten points with two games in hand. The Caps closed within two of the New York Rangers in the chase for the eight Eastern Conference slot.

Dainius Zubrus missed the game with his lingering hand injury, though he should be ready for Sundayís home game against the Oilers.
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