- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 10, 2006

PHILADELPHIA — The important thing, one Washington Capitals players said last night, was that they won. How they did it won’t matter much later on.

That much is correct; the Caps defeated the badly outmanned Philadelphia Flyers last night 5-3, their fifth victory in their last six games. It was not pretty and at times the final outcome seemed in doubt.

“Some games you should win and need to win and this was one of them,” said Caps captain Chris Clark, who had a goal and an assist. “There are two reasons — I think we’re above them in the standings. We want to put those teams behind us and make some room, and also coming off a loss like we had [Friday] night. It wasn’t that bad, 6-1 [to Anaheim], but still you want to rebound and show ourselves that’s just a game in the past. We don’t want to dwell on it.”

The Caps made the mistake of giving the opponent some breathing room and reason for optimism, and the Flyers jumped at the chance. Down by a pair early in the second, Philadelphia rallied to tie the game 3-3 at the end of the period to make it a nailbiter.

Alex Ovechkin (his 18th), Brooks Laich (second, shorthanded), Clark (10th), Bryan Muir (second) and Matt Pettinger (10th) scored for the Caps, and goalie Brent Johnson picked up the win.

“Worried? No, I felt really content in there,” Johnson said. “When it was a 3-3 game, there were couple loose plays in our end, but that was it. After that the guys cleared the front of the net and that was it.”

Muir, who had been spotted often early in the season, came through with his biggest goal of the season, wristing a shot from the deep slot through a crowd and into the net.

“That was a huge goal from Muir,” Johnson said. “That came on a delayed penalty and as soon as I got to the bench, the puck was in the net. He made an awfully nice shot. It’s nice when the defense can get into the play like that.”

The play that might have saved the game came a little earlier in the third. Johnson had turned aside a Flyers shot, but the puck ended up in the slot with a Flyers player there and the goalie out of position.

“It was the play of the game as far as I’m concerned,” Johnson said of a move by right wing Ben Clymer. “One of their guys was right there ready to bang it home and Clymer was there, lifting his stick at precisely the right moment.”

The Flyers started the game with three regulars out of action and lost two more before the opening period was over. Still, all that did was jack up the Flyers’ determination and the Caps had trouble staying with them.

Ovechkin scored in the first and Laich early in the second. Simon Gagne scored two and Mike Knuble one with Clark scoring in the middle to knot the score at 3-3 after the second.

Muir’s goal came 7:40 into the period and Pettinger added his with just 51 seconds left to ice the game. Alexander Semin assisted on the final goal to give him points in six straight. Ovechkin has points in four straight games.

Notes — Left wing Matt Bradley was a medical scratch last night with what was believed to be a hand injury. He was involved in a fight Friday night against Anaheim’s Travis Moen when the injury was thought to have happened. He played fewer than six minutes, less than half his normal time. It is not thought he will be out long-term. …

Also sidelined are defenseman Jamie Heward (facial laceration), who is shooting to come back tomorrow against Pittsburgh and right wing Richard Zednik (groin). The Caps had no healthy scratches.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide