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Capitals end skid, extend division lead

©Associated Press
February 25, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Peter Bondra and Ivan Ciernik had a goal and an assist as Washington ended a three-game skid by beating Montreal 4-1 on Monday. The Capitals increased their lead in the Southeast to three points over the Lightning.

Bondra scored for the first time in eight games for the Capitals, who had lost four of five. Montreal has lost four in a row and remains three points behind the Lightning and the Bruins for the final playoff spots.

Washington, which surrendered 14 goals during the losing streak, clamped down on the Canadiens. Olaf Kolzig, who allowed 11 goals in two games, was rarely challenged despite Montreal's 26-18 edge in shots.

The Capitals took a 1-0 lead 9:08 in when Ciernik scored from the right circle on a two-on-one break. Jagr made it 2-0 2:22 into the second on a rebound of Dainius Zubrus' shot that hit the post. Bondra scored 2:41 into the third with a shot from the left circle, and Konowalchuk chipped in a centering pass from Mike Grier with 5:02 left.

Wings win in Yzerman's return

DETROIT -- Steve Yzerman's season debut was a success as the Red Wings beat the Kings 5-4.

Detroit's captain missed the first 61 games because of surgery on his right knee on Aug. 2. Yzerman did not figure into any of the Detroit goals. He played 18 shifts, totaling 13:17 of ice time, but didn't record a shot.

Eric Belanger pulled the Kings to within 4-3 with 6:52 left. But Sergei Fedorov scored on a breakaway with 3:07 left.

SABRES 2, PANTHERS 2: Jaroslav Bednar scored with just more than two minutes left for host Florida. Stephane Matteau took control of the puck after a faceoff in the Buffalo zone. He passed to Bednar, who put a shot past Martin Biron. Biron stopped Jay Bouwmeester from in front of the crease with 1:01 left in overtime.

SHARKS 5, FLAMES 2: Teemu Selanne scored twice as San Jose ruined Darryl Sutter's return. Sutter coached the Sharks to five consecutive seasons of improved point totals but was fired Dec. 1 after a slow start. The Flames hired him Dec. 28.

AVALANCHE: Captain Joe Sakic said he will play tonight. He has missed 15 games because of a broken right foot.

BLACKHAWKS: Defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev will miss 4-6 weeks after a puck broke bones in his cheek and eye socket.

HURRICANES: Goalie Arturs Irbe was recalled from Lowell less than two weeks after being sent down. Irbe, 36, played five games for Lowell and was 2-2-1 with a 3.32 goals-against average. General manager Jim Rutherford said he will keep trying to trade him.

SABRES: The bankrupt team projected it will use nearly all of its allotted $25-million in financing by the end of the season but will not miss payroll.

TRADE: New Jersey acquired Pascal Rheaume from Atlanta for a conditional draft pick in 2004. He has four goals and nine assists in 56 games this season.

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