The Washington Capitals came into hostile territory and went home with a point against the Flyers in Philadelphia last night, losing 6-5 in overtime. But after squandering a third period lead on an "own goal", having the game-winner batted in off a rebound, and being on the wrong end of nine minor penalties, to a man the Caps must feel like they let one get away from them last night.
"You take [nine minor penalties] in a game, you're not going to win that game, and we took six in one period," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That's how four goals get scored against you. It's something that's unacceptable."
The teams played scoreless hockey though one period, and it looked like it would be a nail-biter in the sold out, orange-bathed Wachovia Center. It turned out to be a donnybrook, as 11 goals would fall in the resultant two-plus period, with the game-winner potted by none other than thorn-in-the-side Danny Briere with 1:08 remaining in overtime.
The Caps had the opportunity to avoid the extra play, but could not take advantage. Brendan Morrison had a puck bounce off his skate into the Flyers net to take a 5-4 lead with 10:28 left in the third period. But six minutes later, Boyd Gordon was whistled for holding.
The Flyers power play unit, which had scored twice already, took the ice. Scott Hartnall, locks flowing, fired on net, and Jose Theodore -- who replaced a shaky Semyon Varlamov in the second period -- made the save. But the rebound skipped straight to defenseman Tom Poti, who was in position but just couldn't play the puck with his stick. It bounced off Poti, back into Theodore, and then into the net for the equalizer.
"Tonight we were our worst enemy," Morrison said. "We came back and took the lead in the third, and that's a game we should have seal down and win. Tonight it was our penalties. We just couldn't stay out of the box. We have to learn this lesson quickly if we want to be a good team, not a great team."
The nine minor penalties were mostly crimes of laziness, including three holdings, two hookings and two interference calls.
A bigger, more long-term concern, was the play of Varlamov. Heralded as the goalie of the future, last night showed he still has a way to go to prove his mettle as he allowed four goals on 25 shots in just under 34 minutes, including three to Flyers captain Mike Richards.
"Varlamov has to be more mentally tough to play," Boudreau said. "One thing that's reared it's ugly head right now is they score in bunches on him. I think he gets down on himself, and we have to get him out of that."
"I thought there were some soft goals."
The Alexes -- Ovechkin and Semin -- took care of the first four goals, each netting a pair. But on this night, scoring goals wasn't the problem. Preventing them, and the bad situations in which they were scored, was.
01:37 Power Play - Mike Richards (3), Snap Shot. Assist: Carle, Pronger
02:44 Alex Ovechkin (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Bradley, Backstrom
04:33 Kimmo Timonen (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Carle, Gagne
07:33 Alex Ovechkin (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Backstrom
12:26 Alexander Semin (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Green, Morrisonn
13:49 Power Play - Mike Richards (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Carle
14:07 Mike Richards (5), Snap Shot. Assist: Carle
08:18 Power Play - Alexander Semin (4), Snap Shot. Assist: Backstrom, Ovechkin
09:32 Brendan Morrison (2), Tip-In. Assist: Bradley, Laich
15:45 Power Play - Scott Hartnell (1), Backhand Shot. Assist: Coburn, Timonen
03:52 Danny Briere (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Timonen, Carter
1. M. Richards - PHI (Goals: 3, Assists: 0)
2. A. Ovechkin - WAS (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)
3. D. Briere - PHI (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)
Matt Carle set a Flyers record for mosts assists by a defenseman in one period, helping with all four Flyers goals in the second period.
Matt Bradley fought Ian LaPerriere in the first period.
Philly out shot Washington 37-35.
Washington has scored 15 goals in three games and given up 11.