WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Capitals' youth movement is beginning to pay dividends.
For the first time in nearly 19 years, two Capitals - Steve Eminger and Petr Sykora - scored the first goal of their NHL careers in the same game during Washington's 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Monday.
The last time that happened was Oct. 13, 1986, when Yvon Corriveau and Michal Pivonka each scored their first career goals during the Capitals' 7-6 victory over the Rangers.
Rookie Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals' leading scorer with five points, provided the winner on a power play at 9:03 of the third period. After Washington killed its first two penalties of the period, Ovechkin scored his third goal of the young season while the Capitals had a two-man advantage. He gathered the rebound of Jamie Heward's shot in front of the net and slipped a wrist shot past goaltender Kevin Weekes.
``I saw the puck come to me and I thought: 'Oh, my God, the puck (is coming) to me, I must shoot it,''' Ovechkin said. ``I got lucky.''
Defender Darius Kasparaitis shouldered the blame for putting the Rangers two men down when he was penalized for interference.
``I cost us the game,'' Kasparaitis said. ``It's been almost every game where I leave with a five-on-three. That has to change.''
Goaltender Olie Kolzig stopped 30 of 32 shots to earn the victory for Washington, which has played four games in six days.
``For us to be competitive, we need everything to fall into place at once,'' Kolzig said. ``We need to be the hardest-working team out there every night.''
The Capitals entered with a league-high 82 penalty minutes, but killed two penalties late in the game - both holding calls against Chris Clark - to preserve the victory.
``They've got a couple of very talented lines and we gave them two power plays at the end,'' Kolzig said. ``We really beared down and the guys made some saves. I don't think they really had many shots in the last minute. We really killed them off, didn't allow them to set up and get many chances.''
Added Eminger: ``It seems like in a couple games we've been really unlucky on the (penalty killing), so we were kind of emphasizing the penalty killing a little bit. We're pushing an extra bit on those penalty kills.''
Eminger's first NHL goal came with 1 second remaining in the second period and pulled the Capitals into a 2-2 tie. He scored off the rebound of a shot by Clark, who got his first assist of the season.
``I've been waiting for two years now, and it finally came,'' Eminger said. ``It's a nice relief.''
Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said Eminger's effort was the best he has seen.
``That's Steve's best game as a pro,'' Hanlon said. ``Not only just the goal, but that was kind of a byproduct of him being up the ice all night, playing both ends of the ice. He ended up being rewarded with a great goal, which ended up being likely the real key turning point.''
Marcel Hossa gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead midway in the second period, beating Kolzig, who has allowed 17 goals in four games.
Former Capital Jaromir Jagr scored his team-leading third goal on the Rangers' first power play early in the second period. Jagr put in a slap shot from the right circle off assists from Tom Poti and Michael Nylander.
Sykora pulled the Capitals even with his first career goal. Jeff Friesen sent a shot on goal and Sykora stuffed home the rebound off Weekes' pads for a 1-1 tie.
Notes: Ovechkin, the top overall pick of the 2004 draft, is the only Capital to have a point in each of Washington's first four games. ... Jagr has 27 goals in 55 career contests against Washington. ... The Capitals teamed with the D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation and the District Chop House restaurant to donate 30 tickets for wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to attend the game.