- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2011

PHILADELPHIA — So much for drama.

Through the early part of this season, the Washington Capitals made a habit out of winning close and winning ugly. It looked like the same thing Thursday night in a rivalry game at the Philadelphia Flyers, when their play was flat and they were clinging to a one-goal lead.

In 2 minutes, 25 seconds, “clinging” became dominating courtesy of three quick third-period goals that made this one a laugher. All of a sudden it was a four-goal game, and the final was 5-2 as the Caps moved to 6-0-0 to continue the best start in franchise history.

“Sometimes, it comes down to whoever scores that extra goal or whatever,” said goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who finished with 40 saves. “We got a couple lucky bounces today and that opened the game wide open. Except that, it was a pretty close game.”

It came down to scoring those extra three goals, in a short span that sucked the air out of an already-quiet Wells Fargo Center and sent Flyers fans scurrying to the exits. Philadelphia had dominated in the second period and it looked inevitable that it would tie the score.

But instead of bending to the pressure amid poor defensive-zone coverage, Vokoun stood up and made sure the tide didn’t turn.

“The first probably 14 minutes in the second period, they was dominating but Vokey play unbelievable and he keep us in the game and keep the lead,” said captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored twice. “And in the third period we use our chances and score goals.”

Once the Flyers‘ push was through and the Caps made it to the third period, they took advantage of some offensive-zone time to score three less-than-pretty goals: a floater by Roman Hamrlik, an odd shot by Ovechkin that found its way past Ilya Bryzgalov and a deflection by Joel Ward.

Pretty or ugly, they count just the same.

“That was it. Try to get them to move around, search for pucks,” Ward said. “That’s what we’ve been trying to do — get those goals and not just the pretty ones.”

Just like that, the game was effectively over. The second-period lapses that almost cost the Caps dearly became a footnote to their sixth victory in six games — and the most decisive one so far.

“Two good teams going at it. Today we were more effective and we scored the goals,” Vokoun said. “That was the difference.”