LANDOVER -- When the Washington Capitals traded for Joe Juneau in March 1994, they traded for a superb setup man while hoping they were getting a major goal scorer.
For two seasons, Juneau wrestled with the disparity. This season, he came in committed to shooting more. Friday night, his determination produced his first three-goal game as a Capital. Combined with a brilliant 39-save performance by Olie Kolzig, it produced a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Defenseman Sergei Gonchar scored Washington's fourth goal. He was simply trying to dump the puck into the Pittsburgh zone with 4: 08 to play in the third period, but the puck bounced off the glass into the net.
"For all of our players, scoring is an ongoing process," said Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld. "But getting a hat trick against anyone in the NHL is a hard accomplishment and getting one against the Pittsburgh Penguins is an even bigger accomplishment. And for Joe, this is the payoff for his new approach to the game."
Each of Juneau's goals against Penguins goalie Tom Barrasso came on special teams play. He was playing with the penalty-killing unit when he scored short-handed for his first goal. The next two came on power plays. The three-goal night gives him five for the season and ties him for the team lead with Jason Allison, who assisted on two of Juneau's goals and also on Gonchar's.
"It's pretty exciting," said Juneau. "It doesn't happen to me very often. I really have it in my head that I really want to score goals. I know that we don't have a 50-plus guy besides Bonzi [Peter Bondra]. I've got to become a different type player."
The Caps have certainly become a different team from the one that started the season 1-5. They were 5-6 as they headed into Nassau Coliseum last night with a chance to reach .500 with a victory over the New York Islanders.
For Kolzig, the victory was his first in three tries this season. He allowed just two goals, one each to Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux. The Penguins are now 0-8 on the road this season and 2-9 overall.
"I felt like I was in a kind of zone at times," Kolzig said. "And I was lucky a few times. [Tomas] Sandstrom hit me in the toe with the puck. [Petr] Klima hit my stick. A lot of it is luck, and when you're in a zone, those kinds of things happen."
Pittsburgh 1 0 1 -- 2
Washington 1 2 1 -- 4
Pub Date: 11/02/96