Final

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Sunday, January 18th
Penguins3Final
Capitals4
Game 2: Tuesday, March 16th
Capitals1Final
Penguins4
Game 3: Tuesday, March 30th
Penguins2Final
Capitals4
Game 4: Sunday, April 4th
Capitals3Final
Penguins4

Penguins 3

(11-28-3, 30 pts)

Capitals 4

(14-26-2, 35 pts)

3:00 PM ET, January 18, 2004

Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

1 2 3 T
PIT 1 1 13
WSH 1 2 14

R. Lang (Capitals - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 3

P. Bondra (Capitals - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

D. Tarnstrom (Penguins - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Lang has goal, three assists for Washington

WASHINGTON (AP) -- One day after missing a game because of the flu, Peter Bondra was healthy enough to lead the Washington Capitals past the worst team in the Eastern Conference.

Bondra, who sat out Saturday's game in New Jersey, had a power-play goal and an assist to lead Washington to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

"Yesterday was an extra day," Bondra said. "When they left for Jersey, I had a tough day, high fever. But after 24 hours, everything settled down and I got my strength back."

Robert Lang scored his 23rd goal of the season and had three assists for Washington, which earned a point for the fifth straight game and moved five points ahead of the last-place Penguins in the conference standings.

Bondra scored Washington's second power-play goal of the game from the right faceoff circle off a pass from Sergei Gonchar, beating Sebastien Caron and giving Washington the lead for good at 9:47 of the second period.

Jason Doig and Jeff Halpern also scored for Washington.

"We have to be more creative," Bondra said. "With the skills we have, we have to use them to our advantage -- move around, be creative and change places."

That strategy worked against the Penguins, who lost their third straight despite getting goals on the power play from Milan Kraft and Konstantin Koltsov.

Drake Berehowsky added a score for the Penguins in the third period.

"That's the way our special teams have been all year," Pittsburgh coach Eddie Olczyk said. "When our power play is going well, our penalty kill lets us down."

After Lang opened the scoring, the Pittsburgh power play worked quickly as Kraft took a sharp pass from Dick Tanstrom at the blue line and beat Olaf Kolzig with a wrist shot just 15 seconds after a Washington's Mike Grier went off for boarding.

Koltsov gave the Penguins the lead with an unassisted power-play goal 11 seconds after a holding call on Joel Kwiatkowski.

Doig tied the game with a high wrist shot at 6:28, and Bondra scored just more than three minutes later.

"It's not just what you see on the ice, it's also about what they have to talk about in the locker room," Washington Coach Glen Hanlon said about Bondra's return. "All of a sudden, you have another weapon."

Halpern scored with 13:03 left, giving Washington a 4-2 lead.

However, Berehowsky pulled the Penguins within a goal when he scored during a scramble in front of the net with 3:08 left. ^Notes:@ The Penguins have scored a power-play goal in four straight games. ... Doig's last goal came against Tampa Bay on Nov. 14. ... Jaromir Jagr had two assists to push his points streak to five games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES