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Stretching it out

Penguins defeat Capitals, extend win streak to 10

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Posted: Tuesday February 16, 1999 01:27 AM

  Missed it by a foot: The Penguins' German Titov (9) slaps in his second goal over the skate of Olaf Kolzig. AP

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins finally stopped winning in overtime. That didn't mean they've stopped winning.

German Titov and Alexei Morozov scored twice and the Penguins extended the second-longest winning streak in team history to 10 by beating the Washington Capitals 7-3 Monday night.

Jaromir Jagr, the NHL's leading scorer with 85 points, had a goal and three assists and now has 25 points during the Penguins' longest winning streak since they won a league-record 17 in a row on 1993.

The streak is the second longest in the NHL this season to Colorado's recent 12-game run and has enabled the Penguins to close within two points of idle Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division lead.

When the streak started, the Penguins were tied for seventh place in the overall Eastern Conference standings and weren't even assured of making the playoffs.

"This team has always been good, has always had good players and great scorers like Mario [Lemieux] and Jaromir and we're trying to keep that going,' the Penguins" Alexei Kovalev said. "You need a lot of talent to do that [win 10 in a row]."

Kip Miller added his 10th goal in 11 games since moving onto Jagr's No. 1 line as the Penguins made certain they wouldn't have to go into overtime for the fourth straight game by building a 5-1 lead.

The three consecutive overtime victories were an NHL record, but resulted partially from the Penguins' 0-for-25 drought on the power play over five games. That stopped with power-play goals by Miller and Jagr, and Titov added a shorthanded goal.

"The power play finally showed up; we talked a lot about it and all of a sudden, we scored on it," Jagr said.

Peter Skudra stopped 31 shots for his eighth victory in his last nine starts and seventh during the winning streak. Tom Barrasso missed the first four games of the streak with a strained neck and is currently out with a hip injury.

The streak even brought out Penguins co-owner Roger Marino for the first time in six weeks. The Penguins filed for bankruptcy 41/2 months ago, and Marino is in danger of losing his stake in the team.

The Capitals were worried more about losing their second in a row after moving back into playoff contention by winning six straight.

"The reason we had a winning streak was we stuck to our game plan, but they got a couple of early goals and we got away from it," Capitals defenseman Joe Reekie said. "You give Jaromir Jagr time with the puck and he's going to make great plays."

Miller's goal at 18:51 of the first period made it 3-1 and ended Pittsburgh's power-play drought. Jagr scored in the third period by deflecting in Kovalev's shot for his 27th goal.

"We had a good first period, which is a good sign because human nature says if things are going good, you start to let up a little bit," coach Kevin Constantine said. "We won some games in overtime and you start to think that no matter what you do, you're going to win."

All but three of Miller's goals have come since Constantine unexpectedly moved rookie Jan Hrdina and Miller up to Jagr's line after the Penguins followed a six-game winning streak by losing five of six games.

Titov, who added two assists for a four-point night, made it 5-1 by scoring twice in a span of just over five minutes in the second period.

Joe Juneau fell down while carrying the puck just inside the blue line, allowing Titov to scoop it up and beat goaltender Olaf Kolzig one-on-one on a backhander at 1:11.

Titov, who had only eight goals in the Penguins' first 51 games, also scored at 6:17 following a sequence of nice passes, lifting the puck past Kolzig for the Penguins' fifth goal in their first 14 shots. Washington coach Ron Wilson then replaced Kolzig with Rick Tabaracci.

"They seemed to keep coming at us and we seemed to give them more and more room," Kolzig said. "They haven't won 10 in a row for nothing. I think we gave them too much respect. You can't give them that much room to make plays."

Peter Bondra, Adam Oates and Juneau scored for Washington.

Related information
In the Corner with Jim Kelley
Jim Kelley's Rumor Mill
Inside the NHL with Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber: Flyers clicking all around
Capitals-Penguins Game Summary
Jagr gets a goal and three assists in the Penguins' 10th-straight victory.
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