Washington , DC–
Olie Kolzig proved himself tonight as he recorded 35 saves and withstood a third-period rally to finally defeat the only NHL franchise he had never beaten as the Washington Capitals edged the Dallas Stars 4-3 at Verizon Center.
”I think that rounds off the NHL, doesn’t it?” Kolzig said. ”It might be the last time I ever play them, too. You never know, we don’t play them next year.” Richard Zednik, Chris Clark, Matt Pettinger and Alexander Semin scored for the Capitals, who won their second straight after six losses. Jakub Klepis had two assists. Kolzig, who earned his 262nd career win, had been 0-9-1 against the Minnesota/Dallas franchise before handing the Stars their season-high third consecutive loss.
Dallas had beaten the Capitals five straight. Jussi Jokinen had two goals and Stu Barnes, playing in his 1,000th NHL game, also scored for Dallas, which dropped its fourth consecutive road game. Phillippe Boucher and Mike Ribiero had two assists apiece.
Capitals defenseman Jamie Heward sustained a serious cut on his face from a skate in the third period. The injury required stitches and he is out indefinitely. Zednik and Clark scored 1:52 apart in the first for a 2-0 lead.
With Washington on a power play, Klepis won the puck in a scrum along the boards and fed Clark, who scored from between thecircles at 14:47. Jokinen cut the lead in half 41 seconds into the second period, flipping the puck past Kolzig from high in the slot.
The miss capped a frustrating night for Ovechkin, who broke two sticks in warm-ups, two more in the first period and another in the second.
”I don’t know what happened. I can’t score on a penalty shot right now,” he said. Pettinger got the margin to 3-1 with 2:07 left in the second, just after Washington killed a penalty. Brain Pothier sprung him on a breakaway and Pettinger sidestepped a defenseman at the blue line before scoring on a low shot.
Semin’s power-play goal with 12 seconds remaining in the second made it 4-1. Semin whistled a wrist shot from centre ice that nicked Smith’s glove and went by him. Marty Turco replaced Smith for the third period and the Stars got two goals in the closing minutes. Barnes cut a tough angle from the left side with 3:21 left and Jokinen converted a rebound with 2:03 remaining.
Dallas visited Washington for the first time since Nov. 13, 2002. Capitals RW Matt Bradley missed the game after returning home to Stittsville, Ont., following the death of his grandfather.
Washington scratched RW Dainius Zubrus (illness), while Dallas skated without LW Brendan Morrow (groin). . Barnes and Kolzig co-own the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans.
The Caps Finally Found a Way to Edge the Stars for Olie Kolzig