LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals are not as invincible as it seemed.
Last night before 18,130, the first sellout of the season at the Capital Centre, the Detroit Red Wings scored three third-period goals to deal the Capitals a 5-4 loss.
The loss ended a three-game Washington winning streak, was only the second loss in seven Capital Centre games and dropped the Capitals out of first place in the Patrick Division, one point behind the New York Rangers, who tied the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-3, last night.
"We were the victim of bad bounces, bad passes and not coming out of our zone fast enough," said Capitals coach Terry Murray. "Detroit had a big win last night [10-3 over the St. Louis Blues, Thursday] and they came up with another big one tonight [last night].
"I hope we get our game legs and game heads back on by Sunday [when the Capitals play in Quebec]. We tried to too many cross-rink passes and they killed us. Our game is 12 to 15-foot passes."
Detroit coach Bryan Murray finally beat his old team and his little younger. He even got a souvenir to mark the occasion.
Murray coached the Washington Capitals from November 1981 to January 1990, when he was replaced by younger brother Terry. Bryan took over the Red Wings last season but went 0-for-3 against Terry and the Caps.
Big brother gained a measure of revenge last night, when he stood behind the bench and watched Bob Probert score two goals to help the Red Wings to a 5-4 victory.
"My wife will be happy because she was complaining that last year we never had a chance to beat them," Bryan Murray said. "Sure, it was nice to get a win. The guys came out and gave me the game puck -- even if it did take me a year to get it."
Terry Murray dismissed the rivalry, saying the defeat wasn't particularly painful because it came at his brother's expense.
"I think that's all behind us now," he said. "I don't think it feels any different, losing to him. It hurts because it's a loss."
Probert's second goal broke a 3-3 tie at 9 minutes, 33 seconds of the third period. Kevin Miller's unassisted goal at 14:24 gave Detroit a 5-3 lead.
"I just played hard out there," said Probert. "I came up with two goals because I tried to put the puck on the net. Sometimes you get lucky and get the bounces. We got some good ones tonight. My second goal was during a Capitals line change and their players were switching. I was the only guy out on that side of the ice. I took the shot and it went in."
"Detroit has a lot of guys who can put the puck on the net," said Capitals defenseman Sylvan Cote. "Probert is one of them and you have to watch him all the time or he will beat you."
Dimitri Khristich, making a pretty move to get free at the blue line, scored on a breakaway at 16:17 to make the score close.
"We got some timely goals," said Steve Yzerman, who had a goal and an assist. "Our penalty killing is much improved and that had a lot to do with our win." [The Capitals were two of eight on the power play.]
Washington took a 3-2 lead at 2:55 of the third period on Al Iafrate's power-play goal on a slap shot from the right point. Jimmy Carson's goal at 3:31, off an assist from Miller, the Capitals' Kelly Miller's brother, tied the score again.
Detroit caught the Capitals in a line change and Probert skated to the left circle and fired a power-play goal past goalie Don Beaupre to give Detroit the lead it never relinquished.
Miller stole a clearing in the Washington end and ripped a slap shot past Beaupre from the right circle for the game-winning goal.
# Detroit 1 1 3 -- 5
Washington 1 1 2 -- 4
First period--1, Washington, Johansson 5 (Burridge, Ridley), 6:17. Detroit, Yzerman 6 (Gallant, McCrimmon), 7:27. Penalties--Konstantinov, Det (holding), 9:37; Burridge, Was (roughing), 15:26; Konstantinov, Det (holding), 18:37.
Second period--3, Washington, Cote 4 (Burridge, Iafrate), 16:13. 4, Detroit, Probert 4 (Yzerman, McCrimmon), 19:23. Penalties--Burr, Det (hooking), 3:59; Kerr, Det (boarding), 8:38; Kypreos, Was (holding), 12:33; Lidstrom, Det (tripping), 14:06; McCrimmon, Det (tripping), 17:05; Gallant, Det, misconduct-game misconduct, 17:05.
Third period--5, Washington, Iafrate 3 (Ridley, Cote), 2:55 (pp). 6, Detroit, Carson 10 (Kevin Miller), 3:31. 7, Detroit, Probert 5 (Racine, Cheveldae), 9:33 (pp). 8, Detroit, Kevin Miller 5, 14:24. 9, Washington, Khristich 9 (Hatcher), 16:17 (pp). Penalties--McCrimmon, Det (slashing), 2:12; Ridley, Was (high-sticking), 4:49; Bondra, Was (interference), 8:36; Hatcher, Was (holding), 12:09; Konstantinov, Det (holding), 14:58; Krygier, Was (interference), 19:18.
Shots on goal--Detroit 11-14-10--35. Washington 13-5-4--22. Power-play opportunities--Detroit 1 of 6; Washington 2 of 8. Goalies--Detroit, Cheveldae, 7-8-1 (22 shots-18 saves). Washington, Beaupre, 2-1-0 (35-30). A--18,130. Referee--Don Koharski. Linesmen--Jean Morin, Ray Scapinello.