LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets used every ounce of energy they had trying to win last night, but neither could get the best of Washington goalie Jim Carey or Winnipeg's Nikolai Khabibulin.
Both frustrated the other team in a game that ended in a 1-1 tie.
Carey was brilliant with a 24-save performance and Khabibulin was equally so with 37 stops.
It took Winnipeg's leading scorer Teemu Selanne's brilliant pass to defenseman Teppo Numminen with 2:29 left in the second period to beat Carey on a power play. And it took another smashing relay from Michal Pivonka to Washington's scoring leader Peter Bondra to beat Khabibulin with 8:25 left in the third.
For Washington, which has just one win in its past six games, the tie was better than a loss. But it was also was a disappointment after the Capitals dominated the Jets for most of the night.
Of course, it could have been worse. Only a save by Carey with 5.9 seconds left in the second period kept the Caps within one goal and set the stage for Pivonka and Bondra. And it was a save by Carey with 40 seconds left in regulation that forced overtime.
"This was a real hard-fought-for point," said Washington coach Jim Schoenfeld. "It was a good point for us.
"Both teams had opportunities. And both goaltenders played exceptionally well. We outshot them by a good margin, but a team like that usually gets real good shots on net."
After a lot of mucking about on both sides, the Jets finally demonstrated why they have the second-best power play in the NHL.
With 3:47 left in the second period, Dale Hunter was caught punching fellow ruffian Dave Manson from behind and given two minutes in the penalty box. It was the Jets' fourth extra-man try, and when you put the second-best power-play unit against the 22nd-best penalty-killing unit enough times, well, almost everyone can guess what the outcome will be.
And that's what happened. At 2:29, Selanne took the puck off the boards near the left circle and shipped it all the way across the ice to Numminen.
Numminen, who hadn't scored since Dec. 23 and had only one goal on the road this season, scored his sixth goal of the season with a blistering blast from the dot in the right faceoff circle.
That made it 1-0 Winnipeg. With the way this game was going, few in the sparse crowd of 10,316 at USAir Arena would have been surprised to see it end that way. Certainly, the Capitals were having the better of the play, but as often happens, the other team had the goal on the board.
With 5.9 seconds left in the second period, it appeared Winnipeg might put another up. The Caps were charging. Kelly Miller had driven right into the crease against Khabibulin, only to see the puck knocked away, and Hunter had blasted back the rebound.
The puck ricocheted out to Keith Tkachuk, who high-tailed it down the ice on a breakaway.
Carey made as if he was playing Twister to make the save and nTC keep the Capitals within one. It also pleased Carey for another reason.
"I played against him in high school," said Carey. "I wasn't in the net then, but he got two goals on our team and I think that was enough. I was just able to get my stick in front of the puck and make the stop on this one."
The Caps suffered the same fate against Khabibulin.
"It was goaltenders' night tonight," said Caps forward Pat Peake, who took four shots at the Jets net, including one of the two in overtime. "If you get a lot of chances like we do, you're doing something right. You hope eventually some of them are going to go in."
NOTE: Caps defenseman Mark Tinordi spent yesterday at the hospital with his wife, Lorene, who gave birth to the couple's fourth child and third son. Jacob weighed in at 8 pounds at 6 p.m. Tinordi was seen rushing into the locker room at 7:10 and was in the starting lineup at 7:30.
Capitals tonight Opponent: Chicago Blackhawks
Site: United Center, Chicago
Radio: WNAV (1430 AM), joined in progress
Outlook: Washington meets a Chicago team that is 7-1-1 in its past nine games, including 3-0-1 at home. The Blackhawks are led by rookie Eric Daze's 23 goals and Jeremy Roenick's 43 points. Chicago also has benefited from the return of Bernie Nicholls, who has five goals and 10 assists in the 10 games he's been back. This is the Caps' last game until after the All-Star break. C Mike Eagles (broken finger) is out for the Caps. LW Patrick Poulin (sprained ankle) and D Steve Smith (back) are out and RW Joe Murphy (strained back) is day-to-day for Chicago.