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Kolzig gets first shutout of season

1/11/2004

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Capitals are taking baby steps
back toward respectability.

Olaf Kolzig made 26 saves for his first shutout of the season
and the Capitals beat the Edmonton Oilers 1-0 Sunday night.

Robert Lang scored for the Capitals, who have won two straight
for the second time this season, the first time at home.
Washington's only other consecutive victories were Nov. 29 in
Columbus and Dec. 2 at the New York Islanders.

"The only way to build confidence is by winning," Kolzig said.

Edmonton, which had won three of five, finished a six-game road
trip 3-2-0-1.

"We're fighting to get back into playoff position and these are
the ones you can't let slip away," Edmonton left wing Mike York
said.

The Oilers were 0-for-6 on the power play and twice wasted
two-man advantages.

"Our power play is getting predictable right now with the lack
of offense that it provides for us," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish
said. "I can't remember the last power-play goal we got, but we
got a two-minute, five-on-three tonight and couldn't capitalize --
that ended up costing us the game."

While the Edmonton power play faltered, Washington's penalty
killers prospered.

"We don't want to take that many penalties and for the penalty
kill to carry us, but if that's the case, that's the case," Kolzig
said.

Lang's team-high 22nd goal gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead with 20
seconds left in the first period. Lang was between the circles and
flicked a centering pass from Jeff Halpern past Tommy Salo.

The Capitals killed three Edmonton power plays in the second
period, including a double minor on defenseman Brendan Witt on
which the Oilers managed only two shots.

Kolzig, who recorded his 32nd career shutout, made three big
saves later in the second period.

He stopped Cory Cross' wrist shot on a rush down the slot, then
knocked away Ethan Moreau's follow-up on the rebound with just over
four minutes remaining. In the final minute of the period, Kolzig
swatted away Moreau's attempted stuff in front.

The Oilers gambled after a cross-checking penalty on Halpern
2:30 into the third period, asking for a measurement on one of
Jaromir Jagr's sticks. The stick was deemed illegal, but Edmonton
failed to score on a two-minute, two-man advantage.

"They had all the time in the world," Capitals defenseman
Sergei Gonchar said. "To kill those two minutes were huge for
us."

Game notes
Washington is 9-1-1 in its last 11 home games against the
Oilers. ... Edmonton LW Brad Isbister (back spasms) was scratched.
... Oilers C Adam Oates played his first game in Washington since
being traded by the Capitals to Philadelphia in March 2002. Fans
hooted at Oates each time he touched the puck. ... Though NHL rules
stipulate that a broken stick immediately be dropped to the ice,
referee Dan O'Halloran picked up a broken stick and carried it for
almost two minutes during the second period.