Capitals' defensemen spark 4-3 preseason win over Flyers

September 25, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- The Washington Capitals are bumping and banging their way into coach Terry Murray's heart. Last night, in the first game of a back-to-back series that will continue in Philadelphia tomorrow night, they out-muscled the Flyers, 4-3.

"We're more competitive at this point than we were most of the time last year," Murray said. "Physical play was the ingredient we missed."

The Capitals are working on establishing a comfort zone for their forwards this season. So far, they've made a number of opposing teams uncomfortable, as they've built a 4-2-1 preseason record, but they are still looking for some forward punch.

All four of Washington's goals in this victory were produced by defensemen -- Sylvain Cote, Shawn Anderson (two) and Jason Woolley.

But, Murray pointed out, it was the forwards who set the screens on the first two goals.

The first came off the stick of Cote, who is leading the Capitals' preseason goal-scoring with four, and the second came on a power play, when Anderson's shot from near the blue line bounced through the Philadelphia defense and into the net past goalie Dominic Roussel.

Roussel had little to do after that, as the Flyers held Washington to eight shots in the first period.

Much of the period was taken up with pushing, shoving and roughing, with the Capitals seemingly taking every opportunity to show their new toughness, which seemed to be appreciated by the USAir Arena crowd of 9,513.

"I think we're doing more bumping and I think we're enjoying it," said Cote. "I think once we get the lines established, you're going to see a real difference. Right now, with so many different players in and out of the lineups, it's hard for them to have consistency. I think that's going to come."

The one player who may have had the most consistent game last night was rookie goalie Olaf Kolzig. It was only Thursday he was expressing his disappointment in facing just 17 shots in an 8-2 victory in Ottawa. Last night, he faced 17 shots in the first period and stopped every one.

Kolzig, who played a two-man breakaway so well neither Flyer got off a shot, continued to guard the goal until the 9:57 mark of the second period, when the Caps switched to Byron Dafoe, who gave up three goals on 15 shots in the final period.

NOTES: The game was played with two referees, as the NHL continues to experiment with the concept, "I think the idea has a lot of merit," said Murray after the game. "If it eliminates the stuff behind the play, the stuff away from the puck, that is the most dangerous and damaging, if it only does that, it's worth a try." . . . The Capitals assigned 21 players to Portland yesterday, including RW Pat Peake, D John Slaney, who impressed as a rookie last season in Baltimore, and C Mike Boback.

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