PHILADELPHIA -- Usually, when a team undergoes a coaching change, as happened with the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, the players perform liked crazed Hall of Famers for a spell. Usually.
Bill Dineen's honeymoon as blushing new Flyers coach at age 59 lasted just 18 seconds last night, as the Washington Capitals routed Philadelphia, 6-3.
"We've certainly got some work to do in our [defensive] end," Dineen said after watching several Capitals have their way in front of the Philadelphia goal.
Looking the part of a slightly rumpled college professor, the coach said his charges would be at work early today, working not only on defense but also on that old bugaboo power play.
"Sheesh," he said, gasping, "we had a five-minute power play and got absolutely nothing out of it."
The Spectrum nearly tipped over when Terry Carkner scored with the Flyers short-handed two skaters for a 1-0 lead just 2 minutes, 5 seconds into play.
In keeping with their 0-6-1 plight during the past two weeks, TC however, the Flyers surrendered a tying power-play goal just 18 seconds later, when Dale Hunter's centering pass hit Philadelphia defenseman Kerry Huffman's skate and bounced by goaltender Ken Wregget.
Hardly had the first groan of the post-Paul Holmgren Era pierced the air when the Caps were back at it, Burridge netting his eighth score with an assist from Kelly Miller, ever hustling behind the Flyers goal.
Little more than 30 seconds later, Kevin Hatcher free-skated in from his customary location out at the blue line virtually untouched and beat Wregget from in close.
Until the Caps rode out a five-minute major penalty early in the second period with hardly a threat to their offensive zone, much less to goalie Don Beaupre, they were sufficiently lax on defense to offer the young Flyers hope.
Along with his high-sticking indiscretion, Miller drew a game misconduct and this seemed to inspire Washington to take advantage of its numerous opportunities at the offensive end.
It was 3-2, Caps, after Mike Ricci drew the Flyers to within one with a three-bank ricochet shot, when Burridge (again) and Dino Ciccarelli all but decided the issue midway through the middle session.
Burridge beat Wreggett easily, picking up his ninth tally on a breakaway, Peter Bondra swiping the puck in the neutral zone and nudging it ahead. Then Ciccarelli chalked up his 14th by standing his ground just outside the slot and hacking away at rebounds until the puck whistled past Wreggett.
Burridge picked up his second assist to go with his pair of goals, flipping the puck across the goal so John Druce could make his third deposit and give the Caps a 6-2 lead.
NOTES: The Capitals are 10-3 in the Patrick Division, Flyers 1-10-2. Small wonder 22 points separate the longtime rivals at the top and bottom of the division. . . . Rarely seen in the pre-game notes handed out to the media was the following: Approximately 925 tickets remain for the Flyers' home game on Sunday vs. the Devils. . . . After losing twice to the Islanders over last weekend, the Caps stressed getting the puck out of their defensive end in practices and it looked it. The Caps (19-8) now head for snow country, playing in Minnesota (tomorrow) and Winnipeg (Sunday).
Washington... 3... 2... 1... --... 6
Philadelphia. 2... 0... 1... --... 3
First period--1, Philadelphia, Carkner 1 (Ricci), 2:05 (sh). 2, Washington, Hunter 5 (Burrudge, Johansson), 2:23 (pp). 3, Washington, Burridge 8 (Miller, Kristich), 5:47. 4, Washington, Hatcher 6 (Pivonka), 6:23. 5, Philadelphia, Ricci (Foster, Eklund), 16:13 (pp). Penalties--Dineen, Phi (roughing), :23; Samuelsson, Phi (cross-checking), 1:37; Lomakin, Phi (holding), 9:06; Johansson, Was (high-sticking), 15:03; Miller, Was (hooking), 15:56.
Second period--6, Washington, Burridge 9 (Bondra), 12:09. 7, Washington, Ciccarelli 14 (Krygier, Johansson), 16:20. Penalties--Samuelsson, Phi (hooking), 1:51; Miller, Was, major-game misconduct (high-sticking), 4:39; Khristich, Was (roughing), 20:00; Dineen, Phi (roughing), 20:00.
Third period--8, Washington, Druce 3 (Burridge), 1:51. 9, Philadelphia, Dineen 6 (Foster, Quinn), 5:53. Penalties--Kypreos, Was, minor-major (high-sticking, fighting), 2:27; Boivin, Phi, minor-major (instigator, fighting), 2:27; Hunter, Was (slashing), 11:36; Dineen, Phi (roughing), 11:36; Khristich, Was (high-sticking), 13:00; Samuelsson, Phi (elbowing), 17:34; Samuelsson, Phi (tripping), 19:42.
Shots on goal--Washington 12-5-5--22. Philadelphia 8-12-11--31. Power-play opportunities-- Washington 1 for 6; Philadelphia 1 for 4. Goalies--Washington, Beaupre 7-4-0 (31 shots-28 saves). Philadelphia, Wregget 3-6-1 (22-16).
A--16,868. Referee--Kerry Fraser. Linesmen--Pat Dapuzzo, Dan Schachte.