- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 6, 2002

BOSTON It is called killer instinct. The good athletic teams have it. The Boston Bruins do, and they exhibited it yesterday.
Like sharks smelling blood, the Bruins zeroed in on the wounded Washington Capitals and tried hard to put the Caps out of their misery early before settling for a 7-4 victory.
The loss dropped the Caps to 5-14-3 on the road, where they have been outscored 80-51. It was also the 10th time this season Washington has allowed five or more goals in a game.
The game turned for a final time midway through the second period after Chris Simon's second goal of the game closed the Caps' deficit to 4-3. Boston answered with a pair of goals within 21/2 minutes, sealing Washington's fate.
Washington simply has no answer for Boston's speed, overall offensive depth and young, quick star forwards. It is the second game in a row Thursday's loss to Ottawa was the first in which the opposition simply has burst past the older, slower Caps.
The Caps were playing with four key players out with injuries, all four critical to the team's defense. Missing were defensemen Calle Johansson and Brendan Witt and forwards Ulf Dahlen and Steve Konowalchuk.
"Turnovers are what really killed us," coach Ron Wilson said. "We kept clawing to get back in it and turn it over and then turn it over and turn it over. That's the frustrating part. We can't seem to find a game plan where we can exclude turnovers. It really bit us big time tonight."
Wilson did not blame goalie Olie Kolzig for the problems that befell the Caps yesterday.
"A couple of [the shots] changed direction," Wilson said. "The first one [Joe] Thornton tipped, and the defense didn't box out. The faceoff goal went in off Sergei Gonchar. I don't know what the goaltender can do on those to be perfectly honest."
But it was still another example of the Caps not following their game plan, not following the strict defensive patterns that have made the team successful in the past.
"We knew coming in here how good their lineup was," backup Craig Billington said, "and it's a very good team. But we really have to work together to give ourselves a chance to win. Unfortunately, we didn't do that here, and it's extremely frustrating."
The Caps fell behind early in the first and caught up only briefly before dropping back for good. They were not classic goals, but they all count.
Thornton started the parade by deflecting a drive from the right point by Nick Boynton, a former Caps first-round draft pick, just 4:11 into the game. Simon tied the game less than a minute later when his shot was deflected high into the air by a defender and bounced over goalie Byron Dafoe's head into the net.
Glen Murray, the reigning NHL player of the week, put Boston back up at 7:15 with a one-timer that glanced off Gonchar and ended up between Kolzig's legs. Thornton's second of the game came on a power play, with the puck sliding under the goalie's leg from the bottom of the right circle at 12:02.
The Caps made a game of it late in the first when Dainius Zubrus bulled his way into the slot, poked the puck off Hal Gill's stick and into the net past Dafoe, closing the deficit to 3-2.
But Boston poured it on in the second period.
Thornton completed his second career hat trick before Simon nailed his second of the game at 9:28 of the middle period. Then Bill Guerin scored twice in less than a minute, and Billington replaced Kolzig with the Caps down 6-3.
Matt Pettinger scored a power-play goal for the Caps in the third.
Fourteen seconds after the second Guerin goal, Stephen Peat and P.J. Stock engaged in one of the better hockey fights seen in a long time, with both players displaying an ability to take a good punch while swinging and connecting with both hands. Even though Stock raised his hands as a sign of victory, his face was covered with nasty red welts and cuts, and there was no clear-cut winner.

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