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Kolzig records first career triumph over Stars

Dec 1, 2006 - 2:53 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- For all his success, goaltender Olaf Kolzig never had any real success against the Dallas Stars - until now.

Kolzig made 35 saves for his first career victory over Dallas and Alexander Semin tied a personal high with his 10th goal to lead the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 triumph.

The 2000 Vezina Trophy winner, Kolzig entered 0-9-1 lifetime against the Stars. However, he withstood a late surge to record his 262nd win and enable Washington to snap a five-game losing streak against Dallas dating to December 28, 2001.

"I think that (rounds) off the NHL, doesn't it?" Kolzig said. "It might be the last time I ever play them, too. You never know. We don't play them next year."

The Capitals opened the scoring with 6:55 left in the first period, when Richard Zednik took Brooks Laich's cross-ice pass and slid the puck past rookie goaltender Mike Smith's left pad.

Washington captain Chris Clark widened the margin on a power play just 1:52 later by putting a spinning shot from the slot inside the left goalpost for his seventh tally.

"For us, it was a great game with our youthful exuberance and speed," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "The pace of our game was as good as it has been. I thought that was the difference against a team that has played three games in four nights."

"They're an older hockey team and they move the puck around extremely well," Kolzig said. "It seemed like they know where everybody is on the ice at any given moment, but we used our speed tonight. We have to use our strengths to our advantage, especially against a tired team."

Jussi Jokinen halved the deficit just 41 seconds into the second session with his fifth goal, a wrister that deflected off defenseman Mike Green's stick past Kolzig.

Matt Pettinger netted his sixth goal for Washington with 2:07 left in the second period to make it 3-1, and Semin tallied on a one-timer from inside the blue line with 12 seconds to go in the session.

"Matt is the type of player who is getting more and more comfortable with his role as a leader and an offensive player," Hanlon said. "He looks more comfortable with an opportunity. The contract extension during the summer makes him look and say to himself, 'I'm a darn good player.'"

Playing his 1,000th career game, Stu Barnes scored his second goal of the season with 3:21 remaining and Jokinen added his second of the game 78 seconds later for the Stars, who have lost four straight road games.

"They're protecting the lead and we're just throwing pucks at the net and trying to come up with some loose ones," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "I wish we could've come up with a few more. We'd like to see that desperation a little earlier in the game."

"That's a game where we didn't play the way we wanted to play for the complete game, and we got behind when they took advantage of the mistakes we made," Barnes said. "We got close, but not quite, and that doesn't count in hockey."

Alexander Ovechkin was awarded a penalty shot midway through the second period after Smith threw his stick at the puck. However, last season's Calder Trophy winner was unable to get off a shot on the netminder during his opportunity.

"I tried to bring it back and go with my backhand, but I lost the puck," Ovechkin said. "I asked, 'What's wrong with my hand?'"

Dallas inserted Marty Turco in goal for the third period as Smith made just 10 saves en route to just his second loss in seven decisions.

"We just need to be better, to a man," Turco said. "I'm sitting here saying it, but we just need to do it. Enough talking about how we are a good team. We need to start consistently being better."

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