"It was playoff hockey,'' Kolzig said. "There's no secret that
we're the two teams in the Southeast Division that people are
picking to win. Not to take anything away from Tampa, Florida or
Atlanta, but that's the way it is.
"We want to make up as much ground in October and November as
we can so we don't have to play playoff hockey from January on.''
The Hurricanes took over first place in the Southeast in
November last year, holding off the Capitals the rest of the season
en route to the Eastern Conference title. Meanwhile, Washington
narrowly missed the playoffs despite adding Jagr to its lineup.
This time, the Capitals have won their first three for the first
time since starting 4-0 in 1997-98 to get a jump on Carolina. All
of Washington's wins have been by one goal.
"It's tough to make the playoffs,'' Jagr said. "It used to be
where you could almost take half of the year off and still make it.
Now, it's not so easy. Now you have to get every point you can get
and take every team seriously.''
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have started slowly, going 1-3-0-1 in
their first five games, scoring just nine goals.
"There are not a lot of guys that I can sit here and say, 'Hey,
this guy has to come out of the lineup, this guy isn't working as
hard as he can,''' Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "There is not
an obvious pick here.
"But we haven't scored a 5-on-5 goal in three games. So, that's
a major cause for concern.''
Ron Francis put the Hurricanes on top with a power-play goal
5:09 into the second, but Bondra scored less than two minutes later
on a great passing play from Calle Johansson and Robert Lang, who
also assisted on Jagr's goal.
Bondra had five goals in five games against Carolina last
Jagr scored his third goal in as many games and 473rd of his
career during a hooking penalty against Jeff Daniels. Jagr was able
to park to the left of Carolina goalie Kevin Weekes and his shot
deflected off the stick of Hurricanes defenseman Bret Hedican and
over Weekes' shoulder.
Kolzig stopped Erik Cole twice from in close with 1:15 left
before Carolina pulled Weekes for an extra attacker.
The first period was scoreless despite a combined 34 shots -- 21
coming from the Hurricanes. Carolina managed just 24 shots in a 2-1
overtime loss at St. Louis on Tuesday night.
Twice Carolina poked pucks past Kolzig after the whistle blew,
once in the first and once midway through the second after the
score was tied 1-1.
"I can almost understand the first one, there were so many
bodies cross-checked into a pile that you would lose sight of the
puck,'' Maurice said. "But the second one we felt was too quick a
"For a team that is really fighting to put the puck behind the
goaltender right now that's the margin of error you can't have.''
Carolina dressed seven defensemen for the first time this
season as Glen Wesley returned after missing three games with a
groin injury. ... Hurricanes C Josef Vasicek and LW Tommy Westlund
were held out with back problems. ... The last time Carolina had 20
shots in a period at home was Nov. 26, 2000, against Nashville. ...
Bondra's 28 career goals against the Hurricanes are his fourth-most
against any team. ... Carolina's Jeff O'Neill extended his assists
streak to four games.