PHILADELPHIA | Peter Laviolette once instituted a “no fighting” rule when he was the coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. His first game with the Philadelphia Flyers might have him thinking about doing the same.
The Washington Capitals scored three times during a nine-minute power play after Daniel Carcillo picked a fight with Matt Bradley and then sucker-punched him before he could engage, and the Caps proceeded to demolish the Flyers 8-2 on Saturday night at Wachovia Center.
“I think it had more to do with [Bradley] sticking up for us, and we really wanted to take it to them,” Caps defenseman Mike Green said. “When you really fight for your teammates, it is our job to fight for him and make sure we do our job. He gave us a nine-minute power play, and we were going to take advantage of it.”
Tomas Fleischmann continued his success as Alex Ovechkin wrapped up his two-game suspension by scoring a pair of goals, and Green added two more with Hockey Canada’s management team in the press box.
For the second straight game, an opposing player took liberties on a Caps player, and for the second straight game Washington made its foe pay.
“It was really unfortunate. Carcillo is a tough kid, and I don’t think he needed to throw a quick one,” Caps forward David Steckel said. “[Bradley] was still trying to get his gloves off, but as a team we responded, and that’s the type of response we needed whether it was going after one of their guys - which isn’t really our team philosophy. We’d rather run the score up, and we’ve done that the last two games.”
It was a 1-1 contest after goals from Fleischmann and Philadelphia’s Mika Pyorala, but everything changed when Bradley hit Carcillo along the left boards near the Washington blue line. Carcillo took offense and cross-checked Bradley twice, trying to get him to fight.
Carcillo threw off his gloves and, just as Bradley turned to engage him, the Flyers pugilist drilled Bradley with a right cross that sent him to the ice. Bradley had to be helped off the ice and did not return, but he was expected to travel with the team to Tampa, Fla., after the game.
“I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, but I know I hadn’t dropped my gloves yet,” said Bradley, who had stitches for a cut just to the left of his nose. “Maybe it is my fault for not expecting that, but obviously I was willing to fight him, and I didn’t have a chance to get going.”
The officials hit Carcillo with 29 minutes in penalties - two for cross checking, two for instigating, five for fighting, a 10-minute misconduct and a 10-minute game misconduct. Bradley was not penalized, leaving the Caps with a nine-minute power play.
Fleischmann scored again at 16:40, and Green potted his first of the night 20 seconds later during the uninterrupted five-minute major portion to make it 3-1 after the first period. Brooks Laich redirected a pass from Green 36 seconds into the second period during the first of the two minor penalties.
Even after the second minor was killed off, the Caps kept pouring it on. Karl Alzner took a penalty, but just as he came out of the box he deflected the puck into open ice for Chris Clark to corral, and the captain snapped a wrist shot past Ray Emery for this third of the season at 11:14.
That was all for Emery, who allowed goals on the first shot of each period and five total on only 17 attempts.
Nicklas Backstrom scored 48 seconds later to welcome goalie Brian Boucher to the rout, and Green added his second at 15:23 of the middle period.
Backstrom had his second career five-point night and now leads the team with 33 points. Green had four for the second time and has 30 in the team’s 29 games to tie Ovechkin for second on the team.
After 29 games without a goal, even Steckel got into the act with his first midway through the third period. With the Caps on the power play, Green sent a perfect pass from the right wing to Steckel, who was crashing toward the left post.
“It was great. I had a smile from ear to ear, and I will probably have one all night long,” Steckel said. “It has been a long year for me so far, but it is great to get the first one.”
The Caps pushed their record to 6-2 this season without Ovechkin, who is expected to play Monday at Tampa Bay. Washington has scored 36 goals in the eight games without its franchise player; Fleischmann has eight of them.
“We have guys who step up and play when [Ovechkin] is not in the lineup,” Green said. “We know how important he is to our team, and we know when he’s not there how important he is to our team. That’s all that is.”