ALSO ON SLAM!
Wednesday, December 22, 1999
CANUCKS 6, Capitals 3
Potvin earns win in first start for Canucks
VANCOUVER (CP) -- Goaltender Felix Potvin wasn't worried when the Washington Capitals scored on their first shot against him Wednesday night. In fact, it's become kind of a good luck charm.
Potvin stopped 31 shots in his first game with the Canucks as Vancouver dumped Washington 6-3. The 28-year-old goalie was acquired in a trade last Sunday with the New York Islanders.
It was the fourth time this season Potvin has won after surrendering a goal on an opponent's first shot on goal.
"It's not the way you want to start but it's pretty ironic," said Potvin, who earned his sixth win. "I've done it four times before so I knew we could still win.
"It was important to not let them jump to a two-goal lead so I just focused on the puck and our team bounced back."
Potvin played particularly well in the third period when his team was outshot 13-2 and Washington had three power-play chances. Overall, the Capitals outshot the Canucks 34-23.
"I'm happy," said Potvin, who planned to return to New York to spend Christmas with his family. "I'll take this win any time. I wanted to come in and play a good time. It's very nice to win."
Rookie Steve Kariya, marking his 22nd birthday, scored two goals for the Canucks, who had not scored more than two in each of their previous seven games.
Kariya's first goal of the game gave Vancouver a 5-3 lead with 50 seconds left in the second period. He made it 6-3 at 8:32 of the third for his eighth of the season.
They were his first goals since Nov. 20.
"I've said all along I've got to be patient," said Kariya. "Lately I don't think I've been getting a lot of shots on goal.
"Tonight I got quite a few. If you want to score goals in this league you have to give yourself lots of opportunities."
Josh Holden, Adrian Aucoin, Markus Naslund and Andrew Cassels also scored for Vancouver (12-15-7-2), which halted a seven-game winless streak.
"It was a great win for us and hopefully this will turn things around for us," said Kariya. "We can all relax going into the holidays and come our refreshed and ready to go on the 26th (against Calgary)."
James Black had two goals for the Capitals (12-16-5-1), who have lost three in a row. Andrei Nikolishin also scored and Joe Sacco had two assists.
Washington's Adam Oates was playing in his 1,000 career NHL game.
"Obviously, it wasn't the result you set out to get," said Oates. "It was a little bit unfair because we played really hard.
"The 1,000th game is nice and it's appreciated and the guys were really nice to me, but a win would have been more special."
Black gave Washington a 1-0 lead 1:17 into the game but the Canucks then broke out of their scoring slump.
Holden tied the game with his first of the season at 4:59 and Aucoin put Vancouver ahead at 6:02 after Todd Bertuzzi barrelled into goalie Olaf Kolzig on a partial breakaway. It was his eighth of the season.
Naslund made it 3-1 just 30 seconds into the second period, but Black and Nikolishin scored 56 seconds a few minutes later to tie the game.
Vancouver took a 4-3 lead at 12:23 of the second when Cassels's pass from the left corner deflected in off Capitals defenceman Ken Klee's skate.