Here's another one for the Olaf Kolzig video library: When Ottawa's Shawn McEachern appeared to have an open net to poke home a rebound in Thursday night's playoff game, the Washington goalie lunged backward and reached out to catch the puck just before it crossed the line.
It was one of 36 saves for Kolzig as the Capitals beat the Senators 4-2 in the opener of their Eastern Conference semfinal."It either hits my glove or goes over my glove," Kolzig said. "It's one of those lucky things, but I was able to get there to be lucky."
Kolzig, who led all goalies in saves in the first round of the playoffs, stayed in form as Washington started the second round on the right foot.
"Olie was outstanding," said Washington coach Ron Wilson, repeating three words he seems to use after every game these days. "Especially on their power play. They shoot the puck a lot. I felt a lot of their shots until the last couple of minutes were perimeter shots. Olie's a tough guy to beat from a distance."
The only goals allowed by the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Kolzig on Thursday came from Daniel Alfredsson on a 2-on-1 shorthanded break in the first period and Andreas Dackell's backhander on a power play in the third.
"I didn't realize he was so big," Ottawa center Bruce Gardiner said of Kolzig. "There's about two feet (of space), and if you don't get it over that, you don't get a goal.
With a goalie like that, you've got to get him moving side to side, giving up rebounds or deflections."
While the Capitals' goaltending situation is secure for now, Ottawa coach Jacques Martin has a dilemma for Game 2.
Martin pulled Damian Rhodes for Ron Tugnutt after Washington scored its fourth goal Thursday night. Rhodes was hot during the first-round upset of the New Jersey Devils, but Tugnutt has won seven of eight games against the Capitals over two seasons.
In addition to Kolzig, the Capitals relied heavily on their veterans to go one game up against the young Senators. Adam Oates, Peter Bondra and Brian Bellows each scored and now have a combined 101 career playoff goals, 43 more than the entire Ottawa team.
Also, veteran Esa Tikkanen effectively shadowed Ottawa's top scoring threat, Alexei Yashin, as the Capitals overcame a 38-23 deficit in shots on goal to move a step closer to their second-ever appearance in the conference finals.
"Being outplayed doesn't mean anything," said left wing Craig Berube, another member of the Capitals' over-30 crowd. "It's the scoreboard that counts, and we try to keep everything in perspective and not panic. When things go wrong you talk it up and everybody settles down, and that's part of being a veteran hockey team, and that's what we've been doing."
The Capitals also got a first-period goal from rookie Richard Zednik.
Gardiner had a goal disallowed in the third period after Dackell had cut the lead to 4-2. Gardiner's score didn't count because the whistle blew before the puck was pushed across the line after a long scramble.
STARS 3, OILERS 1: Defenseman Sergei Zubov scored on two long-distance slap shots, and Ed Belfour sparkled in goal for Dallas against visiting Edmonton.
Zubov powered two long shots past Curtis Joseph in the first period for a 2-0 Stars lead. Mike Keane added an insurance goal early in the third period when he beat Joseph to the glove side after a Mike Modano goal-mouth feed, his third assist of the game.
Belfour made 31 saves. Joseph, who didn't allow a goal in the last 166:54 of the playoffs after posting back-to-back shutouts against Colorado in the first round, gave up three goals on just 14 shots.
Dallas, which lost in Game 7 to the Oilers last year in the first round on an overtime goal by Todd Marchant, had a 3-1 edge over Edmonton in the regular season.