Selanne rescues Sharks with late goal


SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- The puck bounced off Vincent Damphousse's glove and right onto Teemu Selanne's stick for the
game-winning goal.

The Washington Capitals, who haven't seen any puck bounce their
way all season, were furious -- but not surprised.

Selanne scored a power-play goal while tumbling to the ice with
3:39 left as the San Jose Sharks blew a three-goal lead but beat
the Capitals 5-4 Friday night.

Jaromir Jagr scored his second goal of the night with 5:59 left
to cap a tremendous comeback, but Selanne punched home a loose puck
for his 24th goal of the season to give San Jose its fourth victory
in five games.

The winning goal enraged the frustrated Capitals, who thought
Damphousse made an illegal hand pass to Selanne. Coach Ron Wilson
dispensed a difficult season's worth of anger in criticism of
referees Mike Hasenfratz and Mike Leggo.

"It was a shame that they took a point away from us that we
earned coming back," Wilson said. "It's like you deposit money in
the bank, and then you go there the next day and they tell you they
lost it, and it's your fault.

"That's what you get, no explanations from some of these guys,
and it's disgusting. What are you going to do? What is (the league)
going to do, give us a point? No. They should fire people like

With Washington's Colin Forbes in the penalty box, Selanne took
a shot that bounced into the air in front of the net. The puck
ricocheted off Damphousse's outstretched glove and across the
crease, where Selanne beat goalie Olaf Kolzig while Sergei Gonchar
checked him from behind.

"It wasn't even a question," center Adam Oates fumed. "You
saw it -- it went off his hand. It changed direction. There's no
in-between, it's the rules."

The Sharks saw it from a completely different perspective,
claiming the contact was unintentional -- and anyway, not reviewable
unless a hand-pass was called on the ice. Coach Darryl Sutter
praised his star forwards' tenacity in front of the net that
resulted in the goal.

"Our team has a tendency to score a handful of goals at a
time," Sutter said. "A lot of our goals were scored on second
efforts and rebounds and tough plays."

Selanne, who's finally heating up after a mediocre season, got a
goal in each of the Sharks' victories during the string. The
Finnish Flash also was San Jose's most active player, passing the
puck well and generating scoring chances for his teammates.

"We can't play too defensive a style of hockey," Selanne said.
"Every time you sit back and try to make sure they don't score,
you get in trouble. We just have to stick with the game plan and
not sit back."

Gonchar and Dainius Zubrus also scored for Washington, while
Oates had three assists as the Capitals began an eight-game road
trip that could make or break their playoff chances.

The Sharks matched their top defensive line against Jagr and
Oates, but the Capitals' stars still had another outstanding game --
though not enough to make up for Washington's defensive lapses in
the second period, when San Jose scored three straight goals.

"We had five guys based against Jagr all night," Sutter said.
"We did a pretty good job, and still their line scored three
goals. (Jagr) should win the scoring race. He can score in bunches,
and I was hoping he'd wait until tomorrow."

Rookie Matt Bradley had a goal and an assist for San Jose. Jeff
Jillson, Mike Ricci and Damphousse also scored during the
seven-minute flurry in the second that gave San Jose a 4-1 lead.

But Gonchar got his 22nd goal late in the second, and Zubrus
pulled the Caps within a goal before Oates found Jagr for his 26th

The Sharks, playing their final game of the regular season
against an Eastern opponent, increased their Pacific Division lead
over Los Angeles and Phoenix to five points. San Jose is in a
stretch of four home games in six days.

The loss kept the Capitals in a tie for 10th place in the
Eastern Conference, three points behind the eighth-place New York

Game notes
With an assist on Bradley's goal, Sharks D Mike Rathje got
his 100th career point. ... The game-winner was Selanne's 14th
career goal against Washington. ... Ricci returned after missing
two games with a shoulder injury.