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NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Washington

(Thursday, February 19th)

Final Score: Washington 3, New Jersey 1

Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Olaf Kolzig made 43 saves and Matt Pettinger snapped a late second-period tie with a breakaway goal, lifting the Washington Capitals to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at the MCI Center.

Mike Grier and Robert Lang also scored for Washington, while Sergei Gonchar picked up a pair of assists. The Capitals, who traded star forward Peter Bondra to Ottawa on Wednesday, improved to 2-0-1 in their last three games.

Patrik Elias scored the lone goal for New Jersey, which lost for the first time in four games (2-1-1). Scott Clemmensen got a rare start in the New Jersey net in place of Martin Brodeur and finished with 23 saves.

"Kolzig was pretty good tonight, wasn't he?" remarked New Jersey head coach Pat Burns. "I thought he was pretty good. We had our chances and we didn't capitalize on them."

The Capitals snapped a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal by Pettinger with 3:47 left in the second period. Josef Boumedienne made a perfect pass from near the Washington blue line to Pettinger, who beat the Devil defense and raced into the New Jersey zone on a breakaway. He snapped a shot from the slot over Clemmensen's glove for his fifth goal.

"I saw that they were probably going to get the puck down, so I snuck back and got the puck," said Boumedienne about his pass. "It's really the forward getting open, playing with his head up. The pass was right up the gut."

Lang then gave Washington a two-goal margin four minutes into the third. He picked up the puck behind the New Jersey net from Gonchar, skated out into the left circle and beat Clemmensen with a low shot for his team-best 27th goal.

Kolzig made the lead stand up, stopping all 18 shots he faced in the third. He has turned aside 128-of-130 shots in the past three games.

"When you're in the zone everything seems to slow down and the puck looks pretty big," Kolzig said. "We had some luck tonight but considering this year we've had our share of bad breaks and it's nice things are evening out."

A scoreless first period featured 15 saves by Kolzig and 10 from Clemmensen, who was playing for the first time since a shutout against Pittsburgh on January 20.

The Capitals opened the scoring at 6:46 of the second period after a New Jersey turnover. Gonchar intercepted a clearing pass by Devil defenseman Colin White at the blue line and quickly fired the puck toward the New Jersey net. Grier was in front and redirected the puck past Clemmensen for his seventh goal.

The Devils tied it with 5:33 left in the period on Elias' 21st goal. Scott Gomez fired a shot from the left wing that Kolzig stopped. The rebound went in front for Elias, who skated to the right side of the crease and deposited a backhander over the fallen netminder.

Game Notes

Lang has a 10-game point streak. He has four goals and seven assists in that span...The Devils still won the season series, 2-1-1, and lost for the first time in the last seven meetings (5-1-1)...Gonchar has 41 assists this season, most in the league by a defenseman...The Capitals activated backup goaltender Sebastien Charpentier off injured reserve. He had been sidelined since November 4, 2003, missing the last 48 games with an upper leg injury.

02/19 23:57:22 ET

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