Penguins sap Caps for 2nd night, 3-0 Juneau is benched in Wregget shutout


PITTSBURGH -- Washington Capitals goalie Jim Carey made 23 saves last night, but it wouldn't have mattered if he had made 100. The Capitals couldn't score.

They were 0-for-8 on the power play.

They were 0-for-32 on the shot clock.

And the Pittsburgh Penguins went 2-for-2 on the weekend, shutting out the Capitals, 3-0, after beating them in overtime at USAir Arena the night before.

Ken Wregget's second shutout of the season was the first against the Capitals since a 2-0 loss to New Jersey on Feb. 20.

"Obviously, we have to score goals," said Caps forward Keith Jones. "You don't want to get in a rut. . . . We want to avoid a slide.

"Yeah, we're 1-6-1 and at .500, but we don't want to be 1-10-1. It's tough to shut out the losses, but we're going to have to do it. The bottom line is it's a team game and we have to pull ourselves together."

There didn't seem to be much togetherness last night, as a rift appears to be developing between coach Jim Schoenfeld and center Joe Juneau.

With Peter Bondra and Pat Peake sidelined with injuries, Juneau is the obvious choice to pick up the scoring. But after getting penalized as the sixth man on the ice, Juneau was benched for the final 14 minutes of the first period.

"What happened between Joe and myself is between Joe, his teammates and myself," said Schoenfeld. "You have Joe's version. I'll keep my version to myself."

Juneau said he saw his two first-shift linemates go over the boards and did not hear the coaches call for Jeff Nelson to go with them.

"I didn't play," Juneau said. "I guess I was benched. When things aren't going your way, you try too hard and mistakes happen. I never heard Nelson's name. It was just a matter of trying too hard. Little things like that, you're thinking about the next shift, about getting on the ice, and little things like that go over your head. If I knew the call was for someone else, I wouldn't have gone."

The Penguins, playing in front of a sellout crowd of 17,181 at the Civic Arena, got out front early on rookie Joe Dziedzic's first-period goal. It came with 13:21 gone and was Dziedzic's first NHL goal. Left wing Bryan Smolinski scored with 5:50 gone in the second to make it 2-0 and then Mario Lemieux clocked in with a power-play goal at 9:36 of the second.

"We got two big points tonight," said Pittsburgh coach Ed Johnston. "Kenny made the big saves when he had to. As the game got going, I thought we shut them down."

But it wasn't so much what Wregget did as what the Capitals didn't do.

Without Bondra, their leading scorer, and Peake, their power-play technician, the Capitals are punchless.

"We would have had to play at the top of our game to win," said Schoenfeld. "And part of playing a real good game would be capitalizing on power-play opportunities, of which we had plenty.

"We're getting oohs and ahhs, but chances don't do it for you. Goals do. Some guys are over-trying and some others aren't paying the price. We're not a team that will win on a consistent basis unless every player who puts on a uniform pays the price and that is a fact, and it's also a fact that we don't have all 20 guys doing that right now."

Adding to the problem, rookie Stefan Ustorf, who is the only forward to have scored a goal in the last five games, went to the locker room with a mild concussion and a split upper lip that required four stitches.

He was injured during a first-period incident in which Francois Leroux body-slammed him into the boards and smashed his head against the glass. Ustorf did not return to the game and his status for Tuesday is unknown.

Washington, which started the season as one of the hottest teams with an 8-3 record, is now 9-9-1 and winless in its last six games.

"The one thing that is killing us is that we're not scoring," said Schoenfeld, stating the obvious, "and that affects everything . . . guys with point-blank shots have to start putting them in the net."

Their next chance is Tuesday, when the San Jose Sharks come to USAir Arena.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad