Capitals Lose, Still Move Up in Standings

From Associated Press

The Washington Capitals weren’t happy about the way they moved into a tie for the Eastern Conference lead.

Hans Jonsson scored 2:25 into overtime to give the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 victory over Washington on Thursday night, but the Capitals earned a point for the regulation tie to pull even with New Jersey in the Eastern Conference.

The loss also ended the Capitals’ seven-game home winning streak.

“We’ll wake up tomorrow, and we’re still tied for first,” Washington defenseman Ken Klee said. “We have to stay positive.”


Washington’s Chris Simon scored his 29th goal of the season with 6:08 left in the third period to force overtime.

Both Washington and New Jersey have five regular-season games remaining. Each team has 42 victories, but the Capitals have a 3-1 advantage in head-to-head competition.

The Capitals, 21 points behind the Devils on Jan. 11, are 18-2-3 in their last 23 home games and 29-8-5 since Jan. 1.

Washington entered the game tied for fourth in the league in penalty-killing, but Pittsburgh went three for four on the power play. Jonsson’s goal was the Penguins’ lone even-strength score.

Washington wasted numerous scoring chances throughout the game, missing several in a wide-open first period when it had 16 shots. The Capitals held a 35-32 overall advantage in shots, but had trouble beating goalie Ron Tugnutt.

Tampa Bay 6, Ottawa 3--Zac Bierk made 33 saves and Vincent Lecavalier scored his team-high 23rd goal at Tampa, Fla., to help the Lightning end a five-game losing streak.

Bierk, recalled on an emergency basis from Detroit of the IHL on Wednesday to replace the injured Dan Cloutier and Rich Parent, stopped Petr Schastlivy’s on a breakaway in the second period.

Lecavalier put the Lightning ahead, 4-2, at 5:37 of the third period when he deflected a knee-high pass from Fredrik Modin past goalie Patrick Lalime.

Wayne Primeau scored on a breakaway with seven minutes left, and Jaroslav Svejkovsky, Marek Posmyk, Brian Holzinger and Todd Warriner also scored to help the Lightning end a seven-game home losing streak. Posmyk’s goal was his first in the NHL.

Chris Phillips, Sami Salo and Vaclav Prospal scored for the Senators, who remain one point behind Florida for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

St. Louis 3, Boston 2--Jochen Hecht scored twice and Roman Turek stopped 20 shots as the Blues beat the Bruins at Boston.

The Blues improved to 43-0-0 when scoring three or more goals. They also ended a two-game winless streak; they have not gone more than three games without a victory all season.

Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov scored for Boston, and John Grahame made 33 saves. The Bruins are 0-3-1 in their last four games, and have not beaten St. Louis in seven tries since Nov. 18, 1995.

Chicago 4, Toronto 0--Jocelyn Thibault made 27 saves for his third shutout of the season at Chicago as the Blackhawks ended a three-game winless streak.

Alex Zhamnov and Michael Nylander each had a goal and assist for Chicago, which ended Toronto’s two-game winning streak. Anders Eriksson and Bob Probert also scored for the Blackhawks.

The Maple Leafs are 3-5-0 since March 15, with four of the five losses to teams out of playoff contention.

Around the League

Detroit Red Wing captain Steve Yzerman probably will be sidelined for a week after suffering a mild knee sprain Wednesday against Vancouver, the team said. . . . A bruised back kept the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jaromir Jagr, the NHL’s leading scorer, out of Thursday’s game against Washington. His status is considered day-to-day. . . . The Columbus Blue Jackets have sold more than 12,000 personal seat licenses and season tickets, satisfying NHL guidelines for expansion in the Ohio city.