Backs against the wall
Caps hope to bounce back at home
Posted: Friday June 12, 1998 07:15 PM
The Wings put up 60 shots against Olaf Kolzig in Game 2 (AP)|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Down 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wings isn't
the Washington Capitals
most immediate problem.
It's how they lost Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final Thursday night.
They blew a pair of two-goal leads in the third period and lost 5-4 in
overtime. They also lost most of the battles against the boards, never
physically challenged the Red Wings, allowed 60 shots against goaltender Olaf Kolzig and
didn't pay the price needed to win an entertaining, wide-open game.
Now, the Caps will have to bounce back as they promised in the wee hours
Working in their favor will be having Game 3 at the MCI Center Saturday
night, the first time a finals game has been played in the nation's
"We have been a resilient team all season, and yeah, it's going to be
tough to bounce back," Capitals coach Ron Wilson said Friday, after an
optional workout at the team's practice facility at Odenton, Maryland.
"That is tough psychologically to have a two-goal lead in the third
period and to lose in overtime the way we did, but I trust that we will be
bounce back. We've faced a lot of adversity throughout the season and this
is the ultimate test, to have that kind of game and let it slip through
What the Caps have consistently overcome in Wilson's first season as
coach is injuries. The team lost a club-record 476 man-games to injury.
However, overcoming a Red Wings' club focused on winning its second
straight Stanley Cup will take a lot more.
Detroit is unbeaten in nine straight against Washington dating to the
1993-94 season. In the wins in this series, the Red Wings got the victory
in different ways.
On Tuesday, they grabbed a quick 2-0 and let goaltender Chris Osgood hold
off the Capitals. Two nights later, it was a great third-period comeback,
then the game-winner by Kris Draper in
overtime, his first of the playoffs.
"We're a very confident team and it has nothing to do with us being up
2-0," Red Wings forward Joe Kocur said. "From what we did last year and
what we have done this year, there is an aura of confidence that we feel
every game, whether we're up 2-0 here or down 2-1 playing in Phoenix. We
feel we have the guns to do it."
Capitals captain Dale Hunter said it
was frustrating blowing the lead Thursday night and falling behind 2-0.
However, he looked more to the positives, the fact that both games were
decided on the road by a goal.
"We have to come home and play well in our own rink and do what they
did," Hunter said. "They won twice in their rink. They kept home ice and we
just have to win in our own rink."
The Red Wings didn't arrive in Washington until Friday afternoon and they
didn't seem excited about having a ninth Cup in team history in sight.
"I think that the closer you get, the less you allow yourself to get
ahead of yourself," forward Brendan Shanahan
said. "It's way too early to think like that. You have to win four games.
Even last year while most of the people celebrated and prepared to win, we
were the last ones to celebrate. We waited until we won the fourth game."
The Red Wings may be shorthanded for Game 3. Left wing Vyacheslav Kozlov
sustained a charley horse in his left leg when hit by Capitals defenseman
Kozlov plans to test the leg during Saturday morning's skate. If he is
unable to play, Mathieu
Dandenault will make his first appearance in the series.
Game 3 will be played on the first anniversary of the limousine crash
that seriously injured Red Wings defenseman Vladimir
Konstantinov and massage therapist Sergei Mnatsakanov, just six days
after Detroit won the Cup last year.
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