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Kings Cut Down in Overtime

Hockey: Bondra's goal off a rebound 21 seconds into extra period gives Capitals, playing without Jagr, a 3-2 victory. It is Los Angeles' third consecutive loss at home.

October 17, 2001|JERRY CROWE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

About the only good news for the Kings on Tuesday was delivered by Lori Heinze, wife of winger Steve Heinze, who gave birth to the couple's first child.

Otherwise, glad tidings were few and far between for the Kings.

Peter Bondra scored on a rebound 21 seconds into overtime and the Washington Capitals, playing their third game without injured superstar Jaromir Jagr in their last game of a five-game trip, defeated the Kings, 3-2, before 13,492 at Staples Center.

Bondra scooped up the rebound of a shot from the blue line by Joe Reekie and scored the winner to keep the Kings winless at Staples Center.

King goaltender Felix Potvin, playing in his 500th NHL game, had made the save of the game midway through the third period, diving across the net and reaching out his stick to stop a point-blank shot by Trevor Linden to keep the score tied, but he was unable to prevent Bondra from scoring into a wide-open net.

"There was a big crowd in front of me," Potvin said. "The puck hit someone. I don't know who; I couldn't see. I came out to cut the angle down and it came out on the left side."

Like the Kings, Potvin saw his record fall to 1-4-1. The Kings are 0-3-1 at Staples Center and have lost their last three home games.

Coach Ron Wilson's Capitals, meanwhile, ended a two-game skid.

The Capitals won their second consecutive Southeast Division championship last season, then added the prolific Jagr during the off-season, acquiring the five-time NHL scoring champion from the Pittsburgh Penguins for three prospects and future considerations in a remarkably one-sided trade.

It was little comfort to King Coach Andy Murray that Jagr, suffering from a knee strain, was sidelined for the third consecutive game.

Or that the Capitals, 2-1 with Jagr, were 0-2 in his absence.

"I look at their lines and that's the team they had last year, which was a real good team," Murray said before the game. "And the guys they gave up to get Jagr never played in Washington anyway.

"Washington was a team that finished ahead of us in the overall standings the way they were.

"So, having Jagr just makes them that much better."

The message was clear: Murray had his own problems to worry about.

Like several other teams that made the playoffs last spring, the Kings have struggled at the start of the season.

They are last in the Western Conference.

"It might be a little easier to handle if we'd been to the Stanley Cup finals, like New Jersey and Colorado," Murray said, mentioning two other slow-starting teams. "They might be accepting it a little easier than we are right now.

"I'm not very happy about it, and our players aren't. I can talk about scoring chances and that we've played good. And we have played good. But we've played good enough to lose by a goal in three games.

"And that means that you have to play better."

The Kings, whose failure to convert their chances has been their primary problem, started strongly against the Capitals, outshooting the visitors, 17-5, in the first period, but all they had to show for it was a 1-1 tie.

A shot by Glen Murray from just outside the crease was stopped by Capital goaltender Olaf Kolzig about two minutes into the game, and about a minute later Adam Deadmarsh's shot from the high slot clanged off the left post.

Finally, at 3:12, Rob Valicevic scored his first goal as a King. Rookie Jaroslav Bednar made the play possible with a hard check on Capital defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who coughed up the puck inside the Capital blue line.

Valicevic, who started the season in the minors but was recalled last week, corralled the puck and scored unassisted on a shot from the high slot.

Only 53 seconds later, however, the Capitals tied the score when Andrei Nikolishin redirected a shot from the blue line by Sylvain Cote.

The Capitals took a 2-1 lead at 10:45 of the second period.

With King center Eric Belanger in the penalty box serving a five-minute major for elbowing Bondra, Ulf Dahlen took a pass from Chris Ferraro and beat Potvin with a shot from the left circle.

The Capitals, though, kept the lead only until 13:21, when the Kings' Ziggy Palffy fed a blind pass behind him to Jozef Stumpel in the slot after stealing the puck from defenseman Calle Johansson inside the Capital blue line.

Stumpel swept the puck from right to left in front of Kolzig before slapping a backhanded shot into the net for his first goal of the season.

The Capitals dictated the play through most of the third period, but Potvin's great save on Linden's shot kept them from taking the lead.

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