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NHL PLAYOFFS

Eastern Conference Preview Capsules

April 11, 2001|ROY JURGENS

No. 3 WASHINGTON

vs.

No. 6 PITTSBURGH

Best of seven

Thursday: at Washington, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday: at Washington, 10 a.m.

Monday: at Pittsburgh, 4 p.m.

April 18: at Pittsburgh, 4 p.m.

April 21: *at Washington, noon

April 23: *at Pittsburgh, 4 p.m.

April 24: *at Washington, 4 p.m.

* if necessary; all times Pacific

THE BREAKDOWN

* Team records: Washington 41-27-10-4, Pittsburgh 42-28-9-3.

* Season series: Tied 2-2-0.

* Coaches: WAS: Ron Wilson, 17-20 (.429) in playoffs. PIT: Ivan Hlinka, 0-0 (.000) in playoffs.

* Scouting report: The Capitals got the third seed in the East because of a soft Southeast Division schedule. Their reward? Facing Pittsburgh's offensive juggernaut in the first round. These teams will meet in the playoffs for the seventh time since 1991, the Penguins having won five of the previous six meetings. Despite the acquisition of Trevor Linden from Montreal, the Capitals still are a one-line team with Adam Oates and Peter Bondra providing most of the offense. Washington's best player may be defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who finished with a career-high 57 points. Superstar Jaromir Jagr was disgruntled and the Penguins were a mess until Mario Lemieux made his remarkable comeback in December. Since then, Pittsburgh is 27-16-9 with the pair on the ice. Martin Straka and Alexei Kovalev also had strong seasons.

* Goaltending: Washington's Olaf Kolzig has the ability to carry a team, as he did in 1998 when he led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup finals. Pittsburgh's hopes rest on a 27-year-old Swedish minor leaguer, Johan Hedberg. He has started nine NHL games. Hedberg's record of 7-1-1 with a 2.65 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage, however, were good enough for him to beat out incumbents Garth Snow and Jean-Sebastien Aubin.

* Team leaders: WAS--Peter Bondra (45 goals), Adam Oates (69 assists, 82 points). PIT--Jaromir Jagr (52 goals, 69 assists, 121 points).

* Late-season additions: WAS--LW Trevor Linden, RW Dainius Zubrus, D Jason Marshall. PIT--G Johan Hedberg, D Bobby Dollas, D Frantisek Kucera.

* Injury report: WAS--D Dmitri Mironov (back), indefinite. PIT--LW Rene Corbet (foot), indefinite.

*--*

THE MATCHUPS WAS PIT Goals scored 233 (13) 281 (2) Goals allowed 211 (13) 256 (26) Power play pct. 21.2 (4) 20.3 (5) Penalty killing 84.1 (13) 80.7 (26) Goals against avg. 2.54 (14) 3.09 (26) Save percentage .907 (10) .893 (23) Avg. penalty min. 13.9 (11) 19.3 (30) Short-handed goals 6 (T23) 7 (T20)

*--*

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