Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Pittsburgh leads 2-0

Game 1: Tuesday, December 11th
Game 2: Friday, December 21st
Game 3: Saturday, December 22nd
Game 4: Sunday, March 24th

Penguins 2

(13-11-2, 32 pts)

Capitals 2

(12-14-0, 29 pts)

8:00 PM ET, December 11, 2001

Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

1 2 3 OT T
PIT 0 2 0 02
WSH 0 1 1 02

Top Skaters

Pittsburgh: A. Kovalev - 1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG, Even

Washington: P. Bondra - 1 A, 11 SOG, +1

Jagr unspectacular as his new team ties his old one

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jaromir Jagr's first game against the Pittsburgh Penguins was nothing special.


Jagr was essentially a non-factor as the Washington Capitals tied the Penguins 2-2 Tuesday night. He took only three shots and had a fortuitous assist, and his only real attack on the net resulted in a feeble shot in overtime.

"It wasn't very good hockey. I thought it was going to be a lot better hockey," Jagr said. "It was the same, like a regular game. I didn't feel any different. That's too bad."

Jagr, who signed an $88 million contract after the Capitals acquired him in a trade on July 11, hasn't scored a goal in eight games.

"Of course, every game I would like to be more of a factor," Jagr said. "That's what I'm getting paid for. Of course I would like to score some goals and play good for this team. It just isn't happening."

His former teammates noticed it wasn't the same old Jagr.

"We didn't see Jaromir playing his best game," defenseman Darius Kasparaitis said. "We can be satisfied with our effort, but Jaromir didn't do much. He played good, but he didn't play his best game. It seemed like he was playing more for the team. It seemed like he was following the rules. We're going to see Jaromir play better than this."

Jagr's scoring droughts

Instead, the star of the game was Penguins goalie Johan Hedberg, who scrambled all over the crease to make 32 saves.

The Capitals goals came on a breakaway by Ulf Dahlen and on a 2-on-1 break when Chris Simon scored seconds after leaving the penalty box. Otherwise, Hedberg was brilliant, with his right pad save on Dahlen and elbow stop on Dainius Zubrus preserving the tie late in regulation.

"Hedberg made some unbelievable saves," Washington coach Ron Wilson said. "That ended up being the difference."

Olaf Kolzig made 22 saves in a steady performance for the Capitals. He had little chance to see the scoring shots by Alexei Kovalev and Jan Hrdina, both one-timers in the second period.

The Capitals have been eliminated from the playoffs by the Penguins six times in 10 years, and the trade for Jagr was supposed to help Washington get over the Pittsburgh hump.

Instead, Jagr is in a funk that has little to do with his old team.

"Right now, they don't have to do much to control me," Jagr said. "I don't play good, and our line was kind of struggling. They didn't have to do anything special to stop me today."

Perhaps a new set of emotions will revive Jagr when he plays his first game as a visitor in Pittsburgh next week.

"It's going to be a different story," he said. "That's going to be funny. It's going to be a lot of boos, I'll tell you. I've got to talk to my linesmen before the game because I'm not going to hear anything there."

Simon tied it with 15:18 remaining in regulation when he emerged from the box to join Peter Bondra for the break. The Capitals had a poor penalty kill, struggling to get the puck out of their own end, until the moment when the penalty expired.

The Capitals entered with the league's best power play, prompting Pittsburgh coach Rick Kehoe to tell his team to cut down on the penalties. They did the opposite, allowing Washington five man-advantages but shutting them out.

The Penguins goals came in the second period and from the same line. Robert Lang, behind the net, slid a pass to Kovalev for a one-timer from the left circle at 4:25, and Kovalev did the same for Hrdina's shot from the right circle at 19:21.

The Capitals scored 22 seconds after Kovalev's goal. Jagr's clearing pass hopped over Lang's stick for a breakaway, which Dahlen converted for his team-leading 13th goal.

The Capitals outshot the Penguins 15-4 in the first period, but Hedberg was up to the task. He stopped Adam Oates on a breakaway and made a nice diving stop on Bondra.

Game notes
For a couple of minutes, it looked as if Jagr still played for the Penguins: Both teams came out for warmups wearing dark jerseys. The Capitals switched to white before the faceoff. ... The Penguins were missing some of Jagr's old cohorts: Mario Lemieux, Martin Straka and Ian Moran are out with injuries. ... Capitals C Andrei Nikolishin left the game with a bruised left leg and is day to day.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press