LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals' streak that began before Thanksgiving is over.
Robert Reichel's breakaway goal with 1:20 left broke a 4-4 tie and sent the Calgary Flames to a 6-4 victory over the Capitals last night before 12,917 at the Capital Centre.
It was the Capitals' first home defeat since Nov. 20. In the interim, they compiled a 9-0-4 record, breaking the club's home unbeaten streak record of 12 set in 1982.
"Well, the streak came to an end after a good run," Washington coach Terry Murray said. "We certainly got enough chances to continue it.
"The opportunity we were waiting for developed for Calgary," Murray said, referring to the breakaway. "Now I guess we have to start over again."
The Capitals haven't beaten a team with a winning record since New Year's Day. Calgary is 28-19-6.
The score was tied at 4 throughout the third period until Reichel's goal, his second of the night and 22nd of the season. Paul Ranheim added the final goal with seven seconds left, his second of the game.
"It's a game we should have won," Mike Ridley said. "There's no excuse for giving up a breakaway with a minute and a half left."
Murray acknowledged that, but maintained the Capitals did "a lot of good things" that should have allowed them to win.
"We're not going to push any [panic] buttons," he said, "just because we lose a game with 1 1/2 minutes left."
The first 13 minutes of the first period were highlighted by a fight between the Capitals' Dale Hunter and Calgary's Joel Otto. Both players were penalized five minutes.
The Flames' Ranheim then scored the game's first goal, and Reichel followed with another less than a minute later for a 2-0 lead.
Al MacInnis got an assist on the play, marking his first point since Nov. 11 when he suffered a dislocated hip.
The Capitals peppered Mike Vernon with shots during the period, outshooting Calgary 17-10.
The Capitals awoke in the second period, outscoring the Flames 4-2. Al Iafrate started it with his 18th goal, a 60-footer, on a power play and Michal Pivonka tied it at 2 midway through the period.
After Ronnie Stern put Calgary ahead 3-2, Peter Bondra tied it again at 3, and Dimitri Khristich, with a 55-foot rocket, put Washington ahead for the first time at 4-3 with 6:57 left in the period.
NOTES: The Capitals' Kevin Hatcher sat out the game under the NHL's one-game automatic suspension rule after two stick-related game-misconduct penalties over the weekend. GM David Poile decided not to appeal the suspension after learning that an NHL supervisor of officials, Dave Newell, said referee Bill McCreary made the correct call. Hatcher, who was ejected seven minutes into Sunday's game, went shotless for the first time all season. He is No. 4 in the NHL in shots with 206. In his absence, Iafrate had nine shots, four under the club record. Last night was only the second game Hatcher missed in the last 194. He missed a game late last season with a sore knee. . . . In the Capitals' only other game against Calgary this season Oct. 30, Hatcher scored two goals in a 3-1 victory. . . . MacInnis missed 35 games with the dislocated hip. His body was so twisted after the injury, according to one witness, that "his knee was up near his ear." . . The Capitals' three previous crowds of 18,130, 17,818 and 17,793 were among their top four of the season.
Calgary ...... 2 ... 2 ... 2 ... -- ... 6
Washington ... 0 ... 4 ... 0 ... -- ... 4