GAME: New Jersey Devils (30-16-11-1) at Washington Capitals (18-32-7-2).
TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.
An era has ended for the Washington Capitals.
For the first time in more than 13 years, the Capitals will not have Peter
Bondra as part of their team when they host the New Jersey Devils.
The Capitals continued their salary purge Wednesday by trading Bondra, the
franchise's all-time leading scorer, to Ottawa for prospect center Brooks Laich
and a 2005 second-round draft pick.
Bondra, who spent his entire 14-year career in Washington, becomes the
latest victim in the money-losing, last-place franchise's attempt to rebuild
and trim payroll.
"I grew up here. I grew up as a player. I grew up as a person," Bondra
said in an emotional farewell appearance Wednesday in the Capitals locker room.
"I have to understand that I have to move on."
Washington has been trying all season to start rebuilding a franchise that
will miss the playoffs for the second time in three years. Captain Steve
Konowalchuk was traded to Colorado in October, and Jaromir Jagr was sent to the
New York Rangers last month.
Goaltender Olaf Kolzig, defenseman Sergei Gonchar and center Robert Lang -
all high-priced players - have been rumored to be on the trading block.
Kolzig had one of his best games of the season Tuesday, making 47 saves in a
1-1 tie against the Senators.
Kolzig, who made 38 saves in a 4-0 win at Chicago on Sunday, has stopped 123
of 127 shots in his last three games.
"It's a good stretch. I'm seeing the puck really well," Kolzig said. "The
way this season has gone, I have underachieved, and this was a nice win."
Barring a major collapse, the Devils will be in the playoffs for the eighth
straight season. They are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference - three
points behind Boston and four in back of Ottawa and Toronto.
"You pay attention to the scoreboard," New Jersey's Scott Niedermayer
said. "But we really just have to concentrate on ourselves. We're battling out
there. Things aren't always going our way. We've got to stick with it and
things will go our way."
The Devils skated to a 4-4 tie against visiting Minnesota on Tuesday in an
uncharacteristically high-scoring game for both teams.
Brian Gionta had his third two-goal game of the season, including the
equalizer with 6:27 left in regulation, as New Jersey went to 2-0-1 following a
season-high three-game losing streak.
The Devils are 2-0-1 against the Capitals this season after winning the
final three meetings in 2002-03.
STANDINGS (through Feb. 17): Devils - 72 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Atlantic
Division. Capitals - 45 points, 5th place, 27 PB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Patrik Elias, 20 goals and 45 points; Scott Gomez, 28
assists; Colin White, 58 PIM. Capitals - Lang, 26 goals, 42 assists and 68
points; Jason Doig, 103 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 17): Devils - Power play: 15.6 percent (34 for
218), 18th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.6 percent (166 for 194), 4th. Capitals -
Power play: 19.7 percent (48 for 244), 6th. Penalty killing: 81.9 percent (230
for 281), 24th.
GOALTENDERS: Devils - Martin Brodeur (27-17-10, 10 SO, 2.01 GAA); Scott
Clemmensen (1-0-0, 1, 0.00). Capitals - Kolzig (15-28-6, 2, 2.89); Maxime
Ouellet (2-3-1, 1, 3.12).
SEASON SERIES: Devils, 2-0-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 17; Devils, 2-1, OT. At East Rutherford, N.J., Elias tied
an NHL record, scoring his fouth overtime goal of the season at 2:17 of the
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 14-6-7-0 on the road; Capitals - 9-14-4-1 at