- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 27, 2001

The Philadelphia Flyers completed their four-game seasonal sweep of the Washington Capitals last night. The score, Flyers 4-1, doesn't begin to summarize the lopsided edge in the play. The sight of visiting players openly chuckling on their bench said it all.
The Caps were outscored 18-4 in their four games against Philadelphia this season, and three of the four goals came in the first game, Oct.20. Flyers goalies Roman Cechmanek and Brian Boucher had a combined shutout string of 182:28 against the Caps.
The lone Caps goal came from enforcer Stephen Peat, the first of his NHL career. But it didn't come until 3:22 was left, hardly enough time to matter.
Washington is now winless in four games (0-3-1) and had to rally from a three-goal deficit to gain the tie, and that was a home game.
A festive crowd announced as 18,672 some of them vocal Philadelphia rooters watched the Caps sink to depths against the Flyers they haven't reached since the very early, dark years of the franchise Year 1 when the Caps were swept 0-4 and outscored 5-21, or Year 4 when the Flyers won all four games and held a 17-4 scoring advantage.
Goalie Olie Kolzig? Lady Godiva had better coverage. On Philadelphia's fourth goal, the Caps defenders turned and watched the Flyers pour in and score on Kolzig.
Washington played with little intensity and no apparent urgency despite their worsening situation in the standings. Some players of whom more was expected were all but invisible.
"Tonight was frustrating because it was little things we weren't doing," said coach Ron Wilson. "Turning our backs on the play in our end, playing I've-got-my-man-type of hockey and not being in a position to support someone who made a mistake, having sticks out of position it's the little mental mistakes that are basically unacceptable."
Wilson made it clear that when injured players became available, some of individuals playing now would be doing a lot of watching.
"Some guys, they're plus-minuses are reaching pretty low levels," he said. "We have to pick up our play, what else can you say. … They caught us a number of nights when we had some important people out, guys who always give you an honest effort, guys who get the job done essentially defensively. You hope that the guys who get added ice time step up and accept the responsibility and help get the job done. We'll have some healthy guys eventually and I know the guys who will be complaining … and it's going to be their own fault."
There is very little if anything positive that came out of last night. The Caps were exposed for what they are NHL wannabes when they don't play the tight-checking, defensive game that has been designed for this unit. When they get a decent effort out of all 18 skaters, the club can be a force. When they get only spot performances out of a few players and the rest mail in their games, efforts like last night result.
The Caps actually were playing pretty well for the first 10 minutes before the night evaporated into a nightmare. But then the mistakes that have been costing the club all season came back.
Ten minutes into the first, Washington had at least two chances to clear the puck out of its zone but did not, and Philadelphia converted. Luke Richardson shot and Kolzig turned the puck aside, trickling down the left side of the net. Ruslan Fedotenko retrieved the puck without opposition and deposited it in the goal.
Eight minutes later Dan McGillis took a pass from Justin Williams and advanced toward Kolzig. McGillis wore Andrei Nikolishin like a sweater while controlling the puck with his left hand. He force-fed the puck through the goalie into the net.
Keith Primeau made it 3-0 Philadelphia when he tipped a McGillis shot past Kolzig midway through the second on a power play. Little more than a minute later Fedotenko got his second of the night, a nice effort by the Flyers but a poor one by the Caps who stood around and watched while the left wing and linemate Jeremy Roenick zipped through the Washington defense as if it wasn't there.

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