Kolzig Steals the Show in 2-1 Win over the Islanders
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Capitals netminder Olaf Kolzig may be splitting the goaltending duties with Brent Johnson this season, but that doesn’t mean he can’t continue to be the solid NHL goaltender he’s been for over the past 12 years.

Making 30 saves, Kolzig shut down the gritty Islander attack and led the Capitals to a 2-1 at the Nassau Coliseum.

“I thought we battled today,” said Isles goaltender Rick DiPietro, who only had to make 10 saves today, thanks to a plethora of blocked shots by his defensemen. “We just didn’t get the result we wanted.”

Richard Park, who signed a two-year contract extension a few days ago, scored the first goal of the game on a one timer that beat Kolzig after 6:30 in the first. After a timely hit by Sean Bergenheim loosened the puck, enforcer Daryl Bootland snatched it up and made a beautiful cross ice pass to the wide open Park, giving them an early 1-0 lead.

The Capitals did get an opportunity to come back quickly, but Chris Clark would get a goal disallowed on the powerplay after knocking the puck down with a high stick. Mike Sillinger then got called for a slashing penalty with 13 seconds on the first minor penalty, but the Isles were up to the task and killed off both penalties.

Maintaining consistent offensive pressure and not giving Alexander Ovechin the space needed to create offense, the Islanders took a one goal lead in the locker room. However, former Islander Viktor Kozlov blasted a slapshot past Rick DiPietro that tied the score at 1-1 after 7:58 of the second period. Scoring 25 goals with the Isles last year, Kozlov already has two with the Caps this season.

“It was a weird shot, I thought it was on edge or something,” said DiPietro. “I definitely thought I got a piece of it.”

Out shooting the Capitals 25-9 through the first two periods, the Islanders had plenty of opportunities to put the game away, including 1:35 of five on three action in the second, but Kolzig was intent on keeping his team in the game.

Killing off another five on three after three minutes of the third period, the Islanders got sloppy on defense and Capitals forward Brooks Laich got them their first lead of the day. Finding his way in between Brendan Witt and Radek Martinek, Laich deposited a rebound following a Brian Pothier shot from the point, courtesy of a Mike Comrie giveaway, past DiPietro at 7:58.

“The way the ice was today, I feel really sorry for anyone who had to really control the puck,” said DiPietro. “I think it played a part in a few of the turnovers today.”

Continuing his stellar play on the day, Kolzig made 30 saves and stifled the Islanders offensively all game long. His defense was far from spectacular, but the former-All Star managed to win his second in a row and power the Capitals third win of the season in as many games.

Despite having plenty of opportunities to put the game away, including four chances on the power play, the Islanders weren’t able to get one past Kolzig and lost their first game of the season as a result.

However, DiPietro isn’t worried about his team’s inability to finish and actually liked the effort he saw from his team on the ice today.

“We played hard today, I liked our effort,” he said. “It wasn’t our best effort, but we still feel really good about ourselves.”