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Caps break seven-game winless skid

1/10/2004

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As desperate as the Washington Capitals were
for a win, Jaromir Jagr was equally determined to produce some
offense.

Jagr broke out of a prolonged slump with a goal and two assists,
and the Capitals snapped a seven-game winless streak with a 4-1
victory Friday night over the Carolina Hurricanes.

"I'll tell you what, if you want to go on a hot streak, you've
got to win the ugly games," Jagr said. "I think we can go on a
hot streak."

Alexander Semin, Robert Lang and Bates Battaglia also scored as
the Capitals recorded the 1,000th regular-season victory in the
franchise's 30-year history by scoring on four of their 16 shots.

"I don't think too many teams have 1,000 wins," Washington
defenseman Brendan Witt said. "It's been hanging on forever."

Washington had gone 0-6-1 since beating Montreal on Dec. 23 to
move within a game of the milestone. The Capitals scored only eight
goals during that span.

Jagr's drought coincided with the Capitals' slide. Jagr, held
without a goal since scoring against Montreal, had one point in his
previous seven games and was pointless in his last five.

"You can never fault Jags ... on his work," coach Glen Hanlon
said. "He's doing all the things he (supposed to be) doing."

Jagr benefited from a new alignment that placed him with center
Jeff Halpern and Lang. With Halpern holding the puck down low,
Hanlon said, both Jagr and Lang had more opportunity to freewheel.

"It's a pretty good experiment," Hanlon said.

Jeff O'Neill scored for Carolina, which had won two straight. Of
the Capitals' 12 victories, three have come against the Hurricanes.

"When we come into town, they look like world beaters over
there," O'Neill said.

An interference penalty against Washington's Steve Eminger led
to a goal by O'Neill that gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead 5:53 into
the game. Eric Staal pushed a pass from the end line and O'Neill
chipped the puck over Olaf Kolzig for his fifth goal.

Jagr tied the game in the opening minute of the second period,
two seconds after a Capitals power play expired. Skating in front
of the goal, he knocked in the rebound of Peter Bondra's drive from
the right point.

Semin's power-play goal put Washington up 2-1 with 4:07 left in
the second. Semin was at the left post to backhand the rebound of a
shot by Lang past Kevin Weekes.

Lang and Battaglia scored 34 seconds apart early in the third
period for a 4-1 lead.

Lang notched his 21st goal on a power play when defenseman Aaron
Ward failed to clear the puck out of the left corner. Lang backed
into the left circle and squeezed a wrist shot between Weekes and
the left post at 2:15.

Battaglia scored an unassisted goal at 2:49 after picking up a
loose puck near the left boards.

Game notes
Washington claimed D Todd Rohloff off waivers from Columbus
and sent C Brian Sutherby to AHL Portland. ... Hurricanes D Niklas
Wallin played for the first time since Dec. 11. ... The Capitals
won for the first time this season when they were trailing after
the first period, improving to 1-14-3-0 in such situations.