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Boudreau: 'Olie was the difference'

Although Mike Green's OT goal clinched Sunday's 3-2 victory over the Rangers, the Caps wouldn't have been in position to reclaim the Southeast Division lead without Olie Kolzig's stellar 31-save performance.

"He made, in the third period, some unbelievable saves and one in the first period where he had to stretch out," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I thought Olie was the difference."

I did, too.

It was among Kolzig's best performances this season. He looked fresh. He controlled his rebounds, and most important, he came up with a handful of momentum-changing stops. Just ask Sean Avery and Ryan Hollweg.

It seems to me that Boudreau's plan of reducing Kolzig's workload - he has started eight of the Caps' last 14 games - is keeping the 37-year-old rested and ready. He struggled in January after getting worn down by a busy November and December.

In fact, Kolzig has a 2.49 goals against average and .925 save percentage in his past two starts (he made 31 saves in Wednesday's 4-3 victory in Philadelphia). That's an enormous improvement over his season averages (3.04 and .886). His 20 wins, meantime, are tied with Cristobal Huet, Martin Biron, Ilya Bryzgalov and Vesa Toskala for 14th most in the league.

Can this trend continue for Kolzig? We'll find out on the upcoming road trip, which begins Wednesday in Atlanta and continues to Sunrise, Fla., and Tampa Bay.

Note: The Caps are off today. They return to the ice tomorrow at 10:30 am at KCI.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 11, 2008; 10:46 AM ET
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