Flyers cruise past listless Capitals, 6-3

Defense unable to help out battered Kolzig

Recchi gets hat trick


October 21, 2001|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA - Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig probably wanted to take his teammates to the woodshed after each of the first two periods last night at the First Union Center. They had done nothing to protect him, done nothing to demonstrate a care for their goalie, done nothing to impede the Philadelphia Flyers at all.

Only a slap shot by Jaromir Jagr that caught the Flyers by surprise had gotten Washington on the scoreboard in the opening period, and only an amazing performance by Kolzig kept the Capitals in the game at all.

But by the time Kolzig, who allowed five goals on 29 shots, took a seat for the third period, the Capitals had learned their goalie, as good as he is, can't do it all by himself all the time.

The Flyers steamrolled Washington, 6-3, before a sellout crowd of 19,591.

"We were really sharp and they weren't," said Flyer Mark Recchi, who not only scored his first goal of the season, but had a hat trick as well. "It was bad for them, we're not going to kid here. And without Olie, it would have been really ugly."

As well as the Caps played Friday in a 4-1 victory against Montreal to improve to 4-3 on the season, is how bad they played last night. It made for a sullen post-game locker room.

Kolzig ducked quickly toward the shower. Defenseman Brendan Witt sat dejectedly by himself, contemplating the rapid down turn in performance.

"We got all these veterans," he said. "We as a group can't come in here [the Flyers' building] and have a performance like this. This isn't Peewee or Junior hockey anymore. We're a bunch of professionals and we're all accountable. Tonight, was just a disgrace to everyone."

Across from him, Jeff Halpern jammed his uniform into a laundry bag with equal disgust.

"If we're going to keep throwing the puck in the middle and let them ram it down our throats, we're not going anywhere," Halpern said. "Olie plays unbelievable every night and we did nothing for him."

For a while in the second period, it looked as if the Caps might regroup. Andrei Nikolishin went to his knees at 1:59, to put away a shot on Flyers' goalie Roman Cechmanek (19 saves) and even the game 2-2. And while picking up the pace defensively, the Caps did create a few scoring opportunities.

"We could have taken the lead," Jagr said. "But we didn't put the puck away. It was tough luck."

The roof began to fall at 11:12 of the second, when Recchi, who already had two first-period goals, made a great charge and handed off to John LeClair, who was shoulder-to-shoulder with Joe Reekie, for a backhand goal and a 3-2 lead.

After that, it was really all Flyers.

Heading into the third period, the Flyers had yet to allow the best power play team in the league a man-advantage. When they finally gave the Caps a chance to demonstrate that prowess at 3:13 of the third, Recchi had the audacity to steal the puck and finish off a hat trick short-handed.

NOTES: Defenseman Calle Johansson did not make the trip to Philadelphia and is sidelined day-to-day. Caps management refused to disclose the nature of the injury or when it occurred.

The Capitals ownership group, Lincoln Holdings, LLC, has filed a preliminary site plan with Arlington county for the development of a new training center and public ice skating facility in Arlington, Va. The plan calls for two rinks that would sit atop the parking garage adjoining the Ballston Common Mall. The ownership group hopes the new facility would be ready for the 2003-2004 season.

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