- The Washington Times - Monday, October 30, 2000


PHILADELPHIA Perhaps that is what has been missing, the caliber of competition.

The Washington Capitals earned a tough 1-1 overtime draw against the Philadelphia Flyers last night when Jeff Halpern redirected a puck past goalie Brian Boucher to knot the score at the First Union Center.

The tie was the fourth of the season for the Caps in 11 games and gave them seven points.

The tie means that this October won't be the Caps worst start in nearly 20 years.

The Caps have been sleep-walking through many of their early games. They've seemed to have taken some of the lesser competition for granted and came away with nothing to show for their effort.

Last night paired two teams that have struggled from the start of the season. The Flyers have had a never-ending series of injuries while Washington just hasn't been able to get all cylinders clicking at the same time. Washington responded with one of its best games of the season after a few awful performances in Boston and Columbus.

"I thought we did a great job, especially in the third period," goalie Olie Kolzig said. "We were a little too passive in the second period, allowing them a lot of point shots with traffic. It almost looked like we were afraid to lose instead of trying to win. We came out hard in the third period and got the equalizer."

That came from Halpern, who was in the right spot to redirect a pass through the slot from Terry Yake. It came at the tail end of a power play at the start of the third period and was just Washington's 13th shot on goal. It was also the most important.

Washington got through the first period without allowing a goal, only the third time this season the Caps have held the opposition scoreless in the opening 20 minutes. New Jersey and the New York Islanders both failed to score until the second period and produced, respectively, a win and tie for Washington.

But last night there was very little of anything resembling action in the first period, a fact not lost on the very silent crowd. The Caps managed just two shots in the last 10 minutes and continued that in the second period when they did not take a shot for the first 11 minutes.

The only goal in the first 40 minutes came at 8:41 of the second and it was an odd score.

Kolzig had a clear line of vision when Chris McAllister fired from the left point. However the goalie appeared to go down too early, almost as if he had his feet pulled out from under him. He made the initial stop but Daymond Langkow dug the puck out from under Kolzig's pads and tapped it toward the net. Kolzig, flat on his back, reached out with his glove hand and almost got it before it crossed the goal line.

"Two guys came from my right side and hooked my stick," Kolzig said. "Not having my stick took away the middle part of my blocking area so I just had to kick my leg out to have the save. I got hooked so it was a matter of me covering up the five hole."

Notes Here is a strange stat that sort of belies the rest of the campaign: the Caps have scored on all three of their two-man advantages this season but given up only one goal in the four times they were two men short… . Caps host Detroit tomorrow night at the unusual time (blame ESPN2) of 8:08. Leaving no puck unturned, the Red Wings had two scouts at last night's game, former Cap coach Danny Belisle and Mark Howe, son of Gordie and former defenseman for the Wings, Flyers and Whalers… . Defenseman Ken Klee, who had surgery on his right wrist a week ago today, is still not ready to return but might be able to go later this week… . With Richard Zednik back in the lineup, James Black joined Joe Murphy as a healthy scratch… . Ex-Cap Keith Jones has missed three games with a concussion and there are rumors the Flyers might buy him out. He had been rehabbing a surgically repaired knee while trying to keep pace and the concussion has put him further behind.

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