Flyers put Capitals on hold

Washington loses 2nd to Philly in 11 days

October 31, 2001|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - The Philadelphia Flyers did all the things last night the Washington Capitals want to do. The result was another stunning Flyers victory over the Caps, this time by 3-0.

Only 11 days ago in Philadelphia, the Flyers made the Caps look like Little-Leaguers, in an ugly game the entire team assessed to be an embarrassment. Last night, it was less so, but still not pretty.

"It's definitely frustrating," said Caps leading scorer Peter Bondra. "The only way you're going to win is if you score. We've created enough chances, but we've got to do more. We've got to go back to practice and practice putting the puck up top in the net."

It was the second time in back-to-back games and the third time in 12 games this season that the Caps have been shut out.

The Flyers (5-3-3) looked like giants, pushing the Capitals out of their lanes, winning the battles along the boards, frustrating Washington at every turn.

It wasn't the way the Caps had planned to reintroduce themselves to the team that is on the short list of Stanley Cup favorites. Nor was it the way the Caps planned to play before the 18,157 on their home ice at the MCI Center.

After losing, 6-2, to the Flyers in Philadelphia, Oct. 20, Brendan Witt said with all the talent the Capitals have, that kind of game should never happen. His teammate, Jeff Halpern, was furious at the way the Caps kept giving the puck to the Flyers in the slot, offering them easy shots at their goalie, Olie Kolzig.

Last night, though the goals were scored much differently, the Caps were still kicking themselves when it was over.

"It's been two games since we've scored," said the Caps' Ulf Dahlen. "We've had chances, but we haven't put any traffic in front of the net. You just can't show the goalies everything you're going to do and expect to score."

The Flyers' Mark Recchi, who had a hat trick in the first meeting with Washington, had two assists last night. The first came when he got away from Halpern at 16:21 just long enough to make a backhand pass to Simon Gagne, who was wide-open at the corner of Kolzig's crease, for a put-away and a 1-0 lead.

Things got worse for Washington three minutes later, when Caps defenseman Sergei Gonchar knocked down a slap shot by Pavel Brendl at the blue line, only to see it continue to bound toward and past Kolzig.

The Caps goalie, who had 15 saves on 18 shots, went down with his stick to stop it, only to see the puck hit a bad patch of ice and squiggle past him into the net for a 2-0 Flyers lead.

This was only the third home game for the Caps, the fewest of any team in the NHL, and Washington's first home loss. At 5-6-1, Washington has compiled its best October record since 1997-98

Coach Ron Wilson tried to jump-start his team in the second period. He sent out his big point men - Bondra, Jaromir Jagr and Adam Oates - to start the middle period, but they didn't get one shot in the opening shift and three minutes in, Philadelphia was again dominating as if it was on a power play.

"Anytime that you can hold Washington off the scoreboard on their power play, you are doing a great job," said Flyers coach Bill Barber of his goalie, Brian Boucher. "Obviously, Boucher was a big factor. It was a turning point of the game."

Philadelphia 2 1 0 - 3

Washington 0 0 0 - 0

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