WASHINGTON — The "Broad Street Bullies" moniker isn't used as much with these Philadelphia Flyers, but that hasn't stopped them from roughing up the Washington Capitals this season.
Punishment this time was dished out by Ruslan Fedotenko, who scored twice, and goalkeeper Roman Cechmanek, who turned back 22 of the 23 shots the Capitals fired his way.
The Flyers' convincing 4-1 win last night in front of 18,672 at MCI Center made it four wins in four tries against the Capitals, whose six-game home unbeaten streak (4-0-2) ended. Also halted was any potential momentum from Saturday's last-second, 4-4 tie they came away with against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.
The only good news for the Caps: They won't have to see the Flyers for the rest of the regular season. The Flyers completed the season series outscoring them 18-4 by outworking them at every turn. It took rookie Stephen Peat's first career goal with 4:49 left in the third period to keep the Capitals from being shut out a third consecutive time by Philadelphia.
The Capitals, playing without Ulf Dahlen (foot) and Danius Zubrus (groin), fall to 14-17-6 and will next visit Dallas to take on the Stars tomorrow night.
"It's obviously a bad matchup right now," Capitals coach Ron Wilson said. "They've caught us a couple nights when we've had some important people out, some guys who always give you an honest effort.
"And unfortunately, some other guys haven't picked it up when these guys are missing from our lineup, and that's what you hope for."
The Flyers (19-10-5) won for the fourth straight time and are 5-0-1 in their past six games on the road.
It was apparent from the first three meetings that the Capitals don't match up well with the Flyers' size and speed, and the obvious was reiterated last night.
Fedotenko's second goal of the game and ninth of the season, coming 1:16 after Keith Primeau scored on the power play, gave the Flyers a 4-0 lead midway through the second period and, from then on, it was pretty much over.
Fedotenko got around a defender in close, lost the puck for a second, got it back in front and beat Caps goalie Olaf Kolzig (27 saves) with a wrist shot placed at the far side.
That's how easy it has been against the Caps all season for the Flyers, who never trailed in any of their four wins.
"Definitely it's frustrating. It looked like we were still on Christmas break, but we didn't execute our game plan bottom line and a team like this is going to beat you," said Capitals forward Peter Bondra, who was limited to three shots. "It looks like the effort just wasn't there - we tried but not hard enough, and it's not enough to play against a team like this."
There was plenty of carry-over from the teams' first three meetings. The Flyers were in control from the start with the game's first five shots, and took a 2-0 lead after one period on goals by Fedotenko and Dan McGillis.