PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers are in last place in the Patrick Division of the NHL, but last night they played like champions.
Playing aggressive, body-banging hockey that took the Washington Capitals out of their speed-skating game, the Flyers defeated the Capitals, 3-2, before 17,021 in the Spectrum.
Washington played listless hockey, a different type of game from the one Sunday when they took 40 shots on goal and defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-4. The Capitals managed 15 shots on goal last night, scoring on their first and last shots of the game.
The Capitals never got untracked after Mike Lalor gave them a 1-0 lead 2 minutes, 32 seconds after the opening faceoff.
"This was like the last game we played here [the Flyers won, 4-3, in overtime] when we got the first goal and then lost our intensity," said Capitals coach Terry Murray. "We did the same thing in this game. Then we started to take bad penalties. It's very tough to regroup after taking bad penalties. The Flyers played well defensively. They are hard workers and we did not come into this building thinking we would get an automatic two points. We've only been playing so-so hockey of late, and we have to pick it up. Ron Hextall handles the puck better than any goalie in the league."
Hextall made 13 saves, as the Flyers won two games from the Capitals in a season for the first time since Murray was head coach.
"I think Washington underestimated us a little bit," said Hextall. "I really didn't have much to do. You guys [the media] could have done my job tonight [last night]. Keith Acton is such emotional player. He and Al Conroy gave gave us a big lift. It was a great effort and the final score flattered the Capitals."
Philadelphia rallied from being down, 1-0, on goals by Rod Brind'Amour, Pat Murray and Dan Quinn for a 3-1 lead at 6:34 of the third period. Brind'Amour's goal was his first in 15 games. His last was also against the Capitals.
Dimitri Khristich cut the lead to 3-2 with two minutes remaining in the game, but that was the last shot on goal by the Capitals.
"This was our best defensive effort of the season," said Flyers coach Bill Dineen. "Except for a five-to-seven minute stretch in the third period, we played extremely well."
Terry Murray pulled goalie Don Beaupre with 1:07 remaining in favor of an extra attacker, but Washington could not beat Hextall for the tying goal.
Pat Murray and Conroy recalled from the Hershey Bears before the game, each contributed to the win. Murray had a goal and Conroy had an assist.
"For me this was a can't lose situation," Conroy said. "If I work hard I can stay here but I enjoy playing hockey at any level."
Kevin Dineen said: "We have played pretty well for two games now. Tonight we worked like crazy on both ends of the ice. This was a divisional game and at this point of the season it was important win."
NOTES: The Capitals' next game will be Saturday against the Calgary Flames at the Capital Centre (7:35 p.m.). . . . Philadelphia recalled Murray and C Al Conroy from the Hershey Bears. Hershey players already with the Flyers include D Kerry Huffman, C Mark Freer and LW Claude Boivin. . . . Capitals lead the NHL in power-play efficiency with 25.2 precent and are third in penalty killing with 84.5 percent. . . . The Flyers wore their orange road sweaters and Capitals wore their white as part of the NHL's 75th anniversary. . . . Flyers D Dan Kordic is the brother of former Capitals RW John Kordic. . . . Washington last night scratched D Ken Sabourin, LW Dave Tippett, LW Todd Krygier and D Shawn Chambers.