Bondra Nets Two Goals For Franchise Record: Retro Recap – Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals – November 30, 2001

Photo: Washington Capitals

In recent years, Washington Capitals fans have been treated to numerous career milestones by Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and others. It’s gotten to the point where fans often go to Capitals’ games expecting to see one or more career milestones achieved.

The 2001-02 season was similar in that regard. In particular, right wing Peter Bondra, who was in the twelfth year of his career with the Capitals, was approaching significant career milestones prior to the game between the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes on November 30, 2001, at MCI Center.

Just two days prior, in a game against the Buffalo Sabres, Bondra scored the 397th goal of his career, which allowed him to tie the Capitals franchise record for goals. The record was held by Mike Gartner.

Preview

Record-wise, heading into the game the Capitals had a record of 9-13-3-0 and 21 standings points. Carolina had a record of 12-10-4-2 for 26 standings points. After starting off the season 10-6-1-2, they had won just two of their prior games.

The goalie matchup saw Olaf Kolzig for the Capitals against Arturs Irbe for the Canes. On the injury front, defenseman Sergei Gonchar was returning to the lineup after missing the previous game. The Capitals top defenseman, Calle Johansson, was out for the season after having rotator cuff surgery a month earlier.

First Period

The first period was a very eventful period, in more ways than one. The first action in the game was a fight between Chris Simon of the Capitals and Chris Dingman of Carolina at 2:33.

The dust up started when Dingman had Simon pinned along the boards. Simon reacted by poking Dingman with his knuckles before throwing a few lefts that missed, resulting in both players falling down.

But at 4:04, Bondra wasted no more time in scoring his franchise record-setting goal. He tapped in Dainius Zubrus’ rebound from the right side past goaltender Arturs Irbe, who was caught out of position at the top of the crease. This goal was Bondra’s 16th goal of the season and the 398th of his career. Brendan Witt got the secondary assist.

Sergei Gonchar scored nearly four minutes later at 8:03, with assists from Adam Oates, who earned his 1300th NHL point. The Capitals now led 2-0.

Carolina dug themselves in a deeper hole when Niclas Wallin earned a cross-checking penalty at 12:21. Bondra scored his second goal of the game just over a minute into the ensuing power play, at 13:28. He scored on a one-timer set up by Gonchar and was also assisted by Ulf Dahlen.  He now had 399 goals for his career. The Caps now led 3-0.  A little over 30 seconds later, Dmitri Khristich scored, increasing the Caps’ lead to 4-0.

At this point, Carolina’s head coach, Paul Maurice, opted to pull Irbe in favor of Tom Barrasso, who was backup that day. The goalie switch appeared to energize Carolina almost immediately. Two minutes after the goalie switch, Erik Cole of the Hurricanes scored his fourth goal of the season to break the shutout. He was assisted by Niclas Wallin and Sandis Ozolinsh. Soon after that, Dainius Zubrus took a high sticking penalty for the Caps. The Hurricanes’ Ron Francis, who later went on to become General Manager of the Hurricanes and then General Manager of the Seattle Kraken, scored his fourth goal of the season on the ensuing power play at 17:00. He got assists from Jeff O’Neill and Sami Kapanen. The Caps lead was now reduced to 4-2, which was the score going into the intermission.

Second Period

The Caps took two penalties during the first several minutes of the second period. First, Andrei Nikolishin earned a hooking penalty at 2:47. More than a minute after the Caps killed the Nikolishiin penalty, Sergei Gonchar got assessed with an elbowing penalty. Fortunately, the Caps killed that penalty, too.

Nearly halfway through the period, at 9:45, Ulf Dahlen scored his tenth goal of the season for the Capitals, getting assists from Sergei Gonchar and Jaromir Jagr. The lead was now 5-1. Glen Wesley took a holding penalty for the Hurricanes just 32 seconds later, but the Caps were unable to score on the power play. However, they did score at 13:54 when Adam Oates got his fifth goal of the season, getting assists from Dahlen and Jagr. The score was now 6-2, which was the score going into second intermission.

Third Period

The third period featured no goals for either team. Brendan Witt of the Caps was penalized for roughing about halfway through the period. At 14:20, Witt got into a fight with Darren Langdon of the Hurricanes. The two players both were pushing and shoving after the puck went into the stands. They were tied up at the start. Witt landed 1 or 2 jabs, then Langdon took control. He landed around 5 or 6 quick jabs to Witt’s chin, then fell on Witt.

Post-Game

This win for the Capitals ended a three-game streak without a victory. In those three games, the Caps gave up 15 goals. It also trimmed the Canes’ lead in the Southeast Division over the Capitals to seven points.

The win ensured that the Caps would not lose both games of the home and home series with the Hurricanes as the next game on their schedule was against the Hurricanes in Raleigh.

Winger Ulf Dahlen spoke after the game, “We have to do the same thing on Sunday. We can kind of enjoy this but we’re not in a position to enjoy it for long. As soon as we leave this building we have to focus on the next game because it’s against this team again.”

It was a night for milestones with Peter Bondra setting the Caps’ franchise record in goals with his 397th and 398th goals and Adam Oates earning his 1300th career point. It was also a milestone for Head Coach Ron Wilson as he coached his 354th game with Washington which tied Terry Murray for second-most in franchise history.  At that time, Bryan Murray was the franchise leader, having coached 769 games.

Related Reading
Washington Post: Game Recap — Division Title Goes Through Carolina
UPI Recap: 11/30/2001 — Washington 6 Carolina 2
ESPN: Game Recap
New York Times Recap: Bondra Sets Mark in Victory
Box Score: NHL.com
Box Score From Hockey Reference
Hockey Fights With Description of Fights

By Diane Doyle

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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