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CAPS EDGE 'CANES 2-1

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH (FEB. 24, 2001) -- The Southeast Division leading Washington Capitals edged the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Hurricanes rookie wingman Shane Willis notched Carolina’s lone tally for his sixth goal in three games and seventh in the last five games.

“It was a hard-fought game for the full 60 minutes,” said Willis. “Neither team was trying to break it open and trying to get too many offensive chances and both played well on defense. It was tough for 60 minutes and they got the break at the end and capitalized on it. If we would have capitalized a little more on our power play things might have been a little different.”

Capitals centerman Andrei Nikolishin scored the game-winning goal and snapped the Hurricanes’ three-game home win streak when he beat Carolina goaltender Arturs Irbe. Washington winger Chris Simon put the puck on net and Nikolishin sneaked the rebound past Irbe stick side.

Despite Nikolishin’s goal, Irbe made 28 saves on 30 Washington shots and earned second star honors.

“He played so well,” said Carolina coach Paul Maurice. “It was a tough shot. Three-on-two. Got a little tired at the end of that shift and didn’t get the puck in deep of the blue line. That’s the killer. They came down, put a good shot on and came up with the rebound. But I have no problem with his game. He did what he needed to do to give us a chance to win the game.”

The Capitals played a tough, defensive style that impaired some Hurricanes’ attempts to bring the puck up the ice. Despite Washington’s defensive successes, Willis netted his 18th of the season two minutes into the second period when line-mate Rod Brind’Amour found him crossing the blue line.

“I knew we were toward the end of our shift and thought that it would be better to take a shot on the wing,” said Willis.

Later in the second stanza Washington’s leading goal scorer Peter Bondra tied the game 1-1 at 14:20 on a slapshot during a Capitals man-advantage. Bondra’s beat Irbe high on the glove side for his 36th goal of the season and league leading 17th on the power play.

The Hurricanes and Capitals face off three more times, twice at Washington’s MCI Center and once in Raleigh. The games are critical to the Hurricanes’ battle to make the post-season.

“We’ve got to take a page from Washington’s book,” said Carolina winger Jeff O’Neill. “They’re unbeaten in 12 games because they stayed patient and played their system.

“They play an outstanding team game,” said O’Neill. “Everybody knows their role and they do it well. Their skill players make plays and the other guys get the puck in deep and work the cycle. Every player knows their role and do it well and that’s why they haven’t been beaten in 12 or 13 games.”

O’Neill knows that the Hurricanes must play a better game if they plan to keep their current eighth place ranking in the Eastern Conference standings.

“We have to realize that we’re not going to float into the playoffs,” said O’Neill. “We have to develop a consistency and a work ethic every night and play the same way every night and that’s what’s going to get us there. We can’t just slip through the cracks and float into the playoffs.”

NOTES: Willis leads all National Hockey League rookies with 18 goals, eight power-play goals and five game winners… The seventh place (Eastern Conference) Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens tonight 5-1 to pull six points ahead of Carolina in the standings… Brind’Amour assist was his third in three games (2/21-2/24: 0g, 3a).

 1st2nd3rdTOTAL
Washington0112
Carolina0101

First Period: Scoring: None. Penalties: Gelinas, Car (high sticking),13:02; Halpern, Was (charging), 18:04.-
Second Period: Scoring: 1, Carolina, Willis 18 (Brindamour), 2:00. 2,Washington, Bondra 36 (power play) (Gonchar, Oates), 14:20. Penalties:Cote, Was (holding stick), 5:15; Nikolishin, Was (hooking), 9:10; Karpa,Car (holding), 13:29.-
Third Period: Scoring: 3, Washington, Nikolishin 10 (Simon, Zednik),11:13. Penalties: Oates, Was (hooking), 0:57; Reekie, Was (elbowing),2:11; Cote, Was (hooking), 12:22.-

SHOTS ON GOAL

Washington8139--30
Carolina

5
6
11
--22

Power-play Conversions: Was - 1 of 2, Car - 0 of 6. Goalies:Washington, Kolzig (22 shots, 21 saves; record: 30-17-8). Carolina, Irbe(30, 28; record: 26-21-7). A:18,730. Referees: Koharski, Roberts.Linesmen: S Provost, Racicot.

INDIVIDUAL PLAYER STATISTICS

WashingtonCarolina
GA+/-ShotsGA+/-Shots
Black
Bondra
C Johansson
Cote
Dahlen
Gonchar
Halpern
Khristich
Konowalchuk
Nikolishin
Oates
Reekie
Sacco
Simon
Whitfield
Witt
Zednik
Zettler
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
even
-1
even
even
even
even
even
even
even
+1
-1
even
even
+1
even
even
even
even
0
3
4
1
3
2
3
2
2
2
0
2
2
2
0
0
2
0
Battaglia
Brindamour
Dimaio
Francis
G Wesley
Gelinas
Halko
Hatcher
J Daniels
Kapanen
Karpa
Malik
Oneill
Ozolinsh
T Westlund
Tanabe
Vasicek
Willis
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
even
even
-1
even
even
+1
even
-1
-1
even
+1
even
even
even
even
even
even
+1
0
3
0
1
0
1
0
1
0
6
0
2
2
1
1
2
0
2

Carolina Hurricanes Website Reporter Kyle S. Hanlin can be reached at kyleh@carolinahurricanes.com.

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