Tired Flyers still wear out Caps Washington forces OT but then falls, 4-3

December 23, 1991|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,Sun Staff Correspondent

PHILADELPHIA -- After arriving back in the city around 2 a.m., checking into a hotel, then heading for the Spectrum a few hours later for an afternoon game, the Philadelphia Flyers figured to be a tired hockey team.

Fatigue should affect everyone the way it did the suddenly imposing Flyers.

Washington Capitals goalie Don Beaupre probably summed up the situation best after Philadelphia had beaten the Caps, 4-3, in overtime when he said, "We probably didn't deserve to win.

"After playing last night in Minnesota, we should have jumped on them right off. When we didn't, that opened it up for them."

The Flyers trailed once. The Caps' Sylvan Cote scored after 5 minutes, 35 seconds of play. Then Washington had to play catch-up all day.

The Patrick Division leaders were up to the task, scoring with 44 seconds remaining in regulation to force the extra five-minute session.

It didn't take Philadelphia long to grab the two points, Rick Tocchet putting a shot on Beaupre on the Flyers' first foray into their offensive zone, with Brad Jones knocking in the rebound from a tough angle.

Kelly Miller scored the goal that forced overtime, prompting Beaupre to conclude that the Flyers might be "disheartened" by the sudden turn of events.

Caps coach Terry Murray wasn't buying that. "In a situation like this one, them coming off a game the night before," he said, "you try to get going early because they're coming home and you know they'll be pumped up even if they are tired.

"Once they got that first goal to tie it [at the 13-minute mark of the opening period], they got excited and that's when the energy kicks in."

Little more than a minute after Kjell Samuelsson's third goal, Philadelphia got the lead on Steve Duchesne's seventh. Both were the result of rugged digging in the corners by Mark Pederson and Mark Freer, a trademark of Flyers hockey missing for the past couple of seasons.

When Randy Burridge tied it at 2 with his 13th goal midway through the second period, it looked good for the Caps, who were now dictating the play.

hTC When Rod Brind'Amour scored at the 8:40 mark of the final

period, however, it was as Murray said, "They forgot about any fatigue."

Over a 10-minute stretch, the Flyers pressured mightily, putting nine shots on Beaupre while Washington had one of Ken Wregget.

It was the Flyers' third straight victory and, since Bill Dineen took over as coach Dec. 4 -- with the Caps in town, incidentally -- Philadelphia has lost once in nine games, with four wins and four ties.

"Remember," said Dineen, "this win today was against the same team that beat us so easily [6-3] the last time they were in the building."

Unlike the 17,261 watching, the Flyers weren't crestfallen when Miller slipped the puck past Wregget late.

"Sure, it was a breakdown that caused it," said Dineen, "but it makes no sense to start pointing fingers in a situation like that.

"I've never been a screamer, because it does no good; all you can do is remain calm and tell them to keep plugging. Anything else creates a sense of panic."

Once the Caps got a tie in mid-game and were dictating the tempo, Murray was disappointed by the turnovers and bad decisions that ensued.

"The winning goal was on a giveaway," he noted. "The first two goals resulted from their defensemen moving in and not being picked up."

He did not suggest, though, that his team had been the better team on the ice. "It certainly would have been nice to have gotten a point out of this," he said.

The Caps' four-game unbeaten string was broken. They practice today, have two days off for Christmas, then head back into a string of division games, meeting the New York Rangers at home Thursday, then going against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New Jersey Devils.

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