PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Jaromir Jagr finally beat the Pittsburgh
Penguins, but that's not why the former Penguins' captain was
smiling Tuesday night.
"What means a lot to me is that I think we've got a lot better
talent than we've shown, and tonight was a total team effort.
Everybody did what they were supposed to do,'' Jagr said after his
13th goal of the season in the first period turned out to be the
game-winner as the slumping Washington Capitals beat Pittsburgh,
Washington had been winless in five games (0-3-2) against the
Penguins since acquiring Jagr in July 2001 for prospects Kris Beech, Michal Sivek and Ross Lupaschuk. But the Capitals, trying to
battle out of a 2-7-1 slide, shut down the Penguins' power play and
got 16 saves from goaltender Olaf Kolzig to win for just the second
time in their last 11 games in Pittsburgh.
"This was really important, especially with our record in this
building recently,'' said Kolzig, who was bidding for his first
career shutout against the Penguins when Mario Lemieux directed an
Alexei Kovalev pass behind him with 2:53 to play.
"We haven't established any kind of identity yet, and tonight
was by far our best game of the season.''
Ivan Ciernik, former Pittsburgh center Robert Lang and
Jeff Halpern also scored for the Capitals, who gave the Penguins only
three power-play chances and fired 32 shots at goaltender Johan
Hedberg. It was the second straight home loss for the Penguins, who
fell 3-2 to Boston on Saturday.
"I don't think too many people in here are happy with our
effort tonight,'' said Hedberg, who hasn't won a home game since
Nov. 2. "It was an ugly game. We didn't have any intensity at
Ciernik gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 8:46 of the first period
with his second goal of the season, extending his scoring streak to
Hedberg stopped Ken Klee's shot from the right point, but
Ciernik converted the rebound from between the circles.
Michael Nylander also assisted on the goal, extending his scoring streak to
Jagr scored for the second straight game at 13:10 when he
circled behind the Pittsburgh goal and threw a centering pass into
the slot that bounced off the skate of Pittsburgh defenseman Marc
Bergevin and past Hedberg -- much to the dismay of the small crowd
of 11,640, which booed Jagr almost every time he touched the puck.
"I get paid to win hockey games, and we did it tonight,'' Jagr
said. "It doesn't matter if I stink or play good. We just had to
make sure we didn't give them any scoring opportunities, didn't
make any bad turnovers. I hope we can continue to play the same
The Capitals, who switched to a trapping system in Sunday's 5-4
loss in Atlanta, held the Penguins without a shot through the first
11 minutes of the third period and continually beat them to loose
Lang scored his seventh goal of the season at 1:48 of the second
period when he beat Ian Moran to the rebound of his own shot from
the right circle, knocking the puck past Hedberg from a sharp
"Any time you play against a team you played for before, you
get a little extra adrenalin,'' said Lang, who left the Penguins to
sign with Washington as a free agent this summer. "Scoring a goal
is definitely nice, but winning the game is definitely nice. I am
sick of losing.''
The Penguins played without Dick Tarnstrom (broken foot)
and Alexandre Daigle, who was scratched for the first time this
season. ... Washington scratched Dainius Zubrus (hand),
Jean-Francois Fortin (flu), Alex Henry and Steve Eminger. . . Jagr
played in his 900th NHL game. ... The Capitals recalled defenseman
Jason Doig from Portland of the AHL and gave him a regular shift.
... Former Pittsburgh defenseman Rick Berry also had an assist.