NHL Game Summary - Washington at NY Rangers
(Wednesday, January 28th)
Final Score: Washington 2, NY Rangers 1
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Olaf Kolzig made 32 saves, including 19 in the third period, as the Washington Capitals spoiled Jaromir Jagr's first game against his former team by skating past the New York Rangers 2-1 at Madison Square Garden.
Jagr was traded to New York less than a week ago for winger Anson Carter. In three games since the trade, the Rangers and Capitals are each 1-2-0.
Jeff Halpern and Trent Whitfield each scored for the Capitals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. The Capitals also won on the road for the first time since December 16 (0-4-1-1).
Washington owner Ted Leonsis did not travel with the team to New York, as the NHL suspended him one day after he apologized for a tussle with a fan.
Leonsis, 48, is to have no contact with his club for one week and the team was fined $100,000 for the incident. According to published reports, Leonsis accosted a fan after the team's home loss to Philadelphia on Sunday.
In the first home game for Washington after trading away Jagr, Leonsis apparently grabbed a 20-year-old season ticket-holder by the neck and threw him to the ground after absorbing his taunts throughout the game.
Jussi Markkanen stopped 22 shots for the Rangers, who have dropped five of their last six contests. Martin Rucinsky scored the lone goal for New York, which also fell to 1-3-1 in its last five home contests.
New York played the third period without center Eric Lindros, who suffered another concussion. Washington defenseman Jason Doig nailed Lindros along the boards in the neutral zone. Lindros, who was skating with his head down, absorbed the hit midway through the second period and did not return.
"He came through with his head down," Doig said. "I've got to make that hit.
"I have all the respect in the world for Eric. I told him, 'I'm not trying to hurt you.'"
Halpern tallied the game's first goal 9:29 into the first to give Washington the early edge. Robert Lang picked up a loose puck and started an odd-man rush down the center of the ice. Lang slipped a pass toward the right boards to Jason Doig, who skated below the net and pulled back a pass in the slot to a trailing Halpern.
Halpern whacked away at the puck but it appeared that the puck went off Ranger defenseman Boris Mironov and not Halpern's stick. Halpern was credited with the tally for the 1-0 lead.
Washington forged ahead 2-0 in the second period off the stick of Whitfield 4:08 into the stanza. Matt Pettinger fired a cross-ice pass just before the blue line in the Capitals zone, but Rangers defenseman Joel Bouchard misplayed the puck. Trailing on the play, Whitfield gathered the puck and snapped a low shot that beat Markkanen stick-side for the two-goal advantage.
The Rangers got themselves back in the contest at 5:21 of the third after Rucinsky redirected a shot by Petr Nedved past Kolzig. Nedved fired a snap shot that trickled up in the air, and Rucinsky was in the slot to redirect it home for his 12th goal of the season.
Kolzig stoned Nedved on a high shot in the slot with under 10 seconds left to preserve the win. Kolzig was strong in the final stanza as he was peppered with 20 shots.
The loss of Lindros could be devastating for the Rangers, who are trying to make a push toward the playoffs. After the game Rangers coach and general manager Glen Sather said of the injury, "These things are hard to judge."
Washington is 7-3-1 in its last 11 meetings against the Rangers...In 39 games Lindros has 10 goals and 22 assists...Lindros has been sidelined 109 games since the start of the 1996-97 season due to various injuries.
01/29 00:48:38 ET