- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Believe it. The Washington Capitals have swept a season series from their old tormentors, the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Caps scored 15 seconds into the game, and Flyers captain Peter Forsberg didn’t even make the trip as Washington handed Philadelphia its fourth straight defeat 6-2 last night at Verizon Center.

That made it four straight wins for the Caps against the Flyers, a number that rises to six with a pair of preseason victories.

Washington scored five straight goals in a game that probably should have been goalie Olie Kolzig’s 34th shutout. Nonetheless, it gave Washington its first season sweep of the Philadelphia since the teams started playing in November 1974.

Several players contributed to the rout, and for a while it looked like the Caps would need all of them. Ben Clymer scored 15 seconds into the game, followed by a pair of goals from Alex Ovechkin and goals by former Flyers player Donald Brashear, Alexander Semin and Brian Sutherby.

Still, it was a struggle. The short-handed, young Flyers refused to back off or give in, something they were accused of Sunday in a loss to Ottawa.

“We’re no different than that team,” Caps coach Glen Hanlon said. “You take our five best players off, and we’re in the very same position that they’re in. We’re no farther ahead here than they are — we’re just a team here that’s on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

“We don’t have enough points. We haven’t accomplished enough, so our group doesn’t overlook anybody. What did happen was we got up early, the goals were coming, [but] they weren’t hard-working, Cap-style goals, and we ended up creating more problems for ourselves with turnovers, and to me that looks like sloppy hockey.”

It was Washington’s penalty-killing that turned the game. The Caps were gingerly holding on to a 2-0 lead eight minutes into the second period when Clymer and Steve Eminger took penalties within a minute of each other, giving the Flyers a two-man advantage for 1:23.

An excellent effort by Washington’s penalty-killing unit, coupled with the Flyers’ inexperience, led to the Caps stifling the power plays, limiting the opposition to a pair of shots.

The Flyers finally broke through in the third period when the Caps, leading 5-0 5:09 into the third, failed to cover Kyle Calder. Philadelphia’s left wing ripped a shot past Kolzig. Three minutes later, Calder scored a short-handed goal on a tip-in.

The loose play did not go completely unnoticed. Rookie defenseman Mike Green had the puck stolen from him twice, and Hanlon promptly benched him for the rest of the game with 27 minutes to play.

“In the end, we were lucky Kolzig played as well as he did in the middle of the second period,” Hanlon said. “The 5-on-3 kill was a good one, and we were real fortunate on an empty net miss there also.”

Notes — Caps left wing Matt Bradley returned after missing a month with a broken finger, fractured in a fight against the Flyers. Three other Caps are still out: right wing Richard Zednik (abdominal surgery) and defensemen John Erskine and Bryan Muir, both with broken bones in their feet. …

Clymer’s goal 15 seconds into the game wasn’t the fastest by a Caps player. That record is held by Gaetan Duchesne, who scored in just eight seconds against St. Louis on March 14, 1987.

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