|ReCap: Capitals @ Sharks by: Mike Smuland March 15, 2002|
|Washington began its season-defining eight game road trip without a point following a roller coaster affair that was ultimately decided by a controversial San Jose goal that ended the contest 5-4 in the Sharks' favor.
The Caps spent the first half of the game doing everything possible to hand their opponent a win before battling back from three goals down in a stirring comeback. It was the Sharks who got the last laugh however; scoring on the power play after Colin Forbes took a terrible penalty.
Little more than a minute after Jaromir Jagr knotted the score at four goals apiece, Forbes hauled down a Sharks forward heading toward the boards. On the ensuing advantage, Vincent Damphousse punched the puck across Olie Kolzig's crease to Teemu Selanne for the game winner with 3:39 left to play.
The goal was reviewed, but couldn't be overruled by the replay official, as the goal was not scored directly off the hand or following a deflection off the hand. Only the on-ice official can stop play due to a hand pass.
Capitals Coach Ron Wilson was furious. After the game, he remarked that the referee "said it hit the glove but he didn't think it was meant to be a pass. [He] should re-read the rule book."
Washington continued to battle, getting a couple good opportunities with Kolzig (26 shots, 21 saves) pulled from the net, but couldn't burn Evgeni Nabokov (27 shots, 23 saves) for a tying goal.
Early in the game, the Sharks led a feeding frenzy, as Washington looked lost on the ice. San Jose got an easy first tally at 3:04 as Matt Bradley beat Brendan Witt into the zone and pushed the puck into a half empty net as Witt attempted to impersonate Bradley's sweater and Kolzig appeared to brace for a collision more than a shot.
With a dominating forecheck, San Jose continued to force turnovers in Washington's zone and it paid off for a second tally at 9:49 of the second period. Rookie Jeff Jillson's shot took a severe redirection into the net following a Washington turnover.
A minute later, Washington got its chance for redemption on the power play. Jaromir Jagr rose to the occasion, burying the puck on his second chance alone in front. After whiffing on his first shot, Adam Oates collected the puck, drew the defense and slipped it back toward Jagr for his 25th of the season at 11:35.
The Sharks followed with two goals in quick succession. Mike Ricci managed to squeeze a power play slapshot past Kolzig's glove side at 15:12. Just 1:27 later, Vincent Damphousse scored an easy rebound goal as Kolzig kicked the puck directly onto his stick as he raced toward the crease from Kolzig's left.
It looked like the Caps seemed to come to life with a nothing-to-lose attitude. Jaromir Jagr managed to draw Nabokov out of position before slipping the puck to Sergei Gonchar for an easy goal as the second period concluded.
Washington took control of the game in the third period, using speed, criss-crossing entries into the Sharks zone and beautiful passing to put San Jose on its heels. At 2:14, Dainius Zubrus roofed a shot from the slot after a nice feed from Dmitri Khristich.
A period long barrage of opportunities was inflicted upon the Sharks before Washington finally tied the game on Jagr's second goal of the night. Adam Oates slid the puck across the crease to Jagr who scored in one motion while sliding away from the goal. The Capitals seemed headed for a win until Forbes' poor penalty and the ensuing controversy.
+ Glen Metropolit continued to show flashes of brilliance, getting the nod tonight in favor of Matt Pettinger. His assist came on a beautiful drop pass to Adam Oates.
+ Adam Oates (3 assists) and Jaromir Jagr (2 goals, 1 assist) both had outstanding games, making a case for Oates' return next season.
+ Gonchar notched his personal best 22nd goal of the season to continue his league-leading pace amongst defensemen.
Minus The Caps lost their second game in as many weeks to a fist. Ron Francis apparently started a trend in Carolina.
Minus Washington's road unbeaten streak came to a halt at four games.