Capitals snowed under by Flyers' flurry, 6-4 Blown lead leaves Murray at a loss


PHILADELPHIA -- Terry Murray's words spoke volumes about the play of his plummeting Washington Capitals. He said absolutely nothing.

Murray must have figured his team's sorry effort said it all for him. So rather than spilling his guts to the media, he simply gathered up his coat, and left the building.

"For all I know he's taken the [team] bus and headed home," said team publicist Dan Kaufman after Washington wasted an early two-goal lead by surrendering five straight goals in a disquieting 6-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers that did nothing to help their playoff chances. The Capitals, now tied for second by the Rangers, are home against the Rangers for a crucial game tomorrow, leading the fifth-place Islanders by three points in the Patrick Division logjam.

And just about all of them say if they don't get serious soon they might well be starting summer vacation early.

"They tied it up, then we started panicking," Mike Ridley said after Garry Galley and Mark Recchi scored two goals apiece to give Philadelphia its second win over the Capitals in six nights, Galley's goals both coming in a three-goal, 2:09 span late in the second period. "That's not how we have to play if we want to get into the playoffs.

"After winning the Toronto game [a 3-1 victory Tuesday night that broke a five-game winless streak] when we got up early, we started thinking, 'Ah, we've got it back now.' It doesn't work like that. You've got to play 60 minutes. We came off the All-Star break winning seven in a row, and maybe we got a little too self-confident. I don't know if we kind of let up after winning seven in a row, but every game's going to be a battle now."

When Dimitri Khristich and Sylvain Cote beat Tommy Soderstrom 36 seconds apart early in the first period, the Capitals seemed on their way. Indeed, Washington dominated the first 20 minutes, leading 15-1 in shots on goal at one point.

But once Philadelphia's Josef Beranek fired a back-hander over Don Beaupre's shoulder, the Flyers sensed this would be their night. "Even when they were up 2-0, I just felt it was going to happen for us," said Galley, whose goals, wrapped around another by Eric Lindros, came on two perfect feeds from Al Conroy and Lindros respectively to break a 2-2 tie. "I didn't feel they were in charge of the game."

The man he victimized in the Washington net agreed. "They wanted it more than we did. It was obvious," said Beaupre, who didn't get support. "That kind of effort's not going to win many games.

"It's our fault because we let them come to us instead of playing more wide open. I'm kind of disappointed we've been so erratic.

"The urgency just isn't there. I hope everyone's upset, not just Terry."

Certainly Murray was, as he sternly addressed his team between the second and third periods. It almost worked when Pat Elynuik and Paul Cavallini scored 50 seconds apart to make it 5-4, before Recchi stuffed home an insurance goal after Washington killed two penalties.

"He was pretty ticked off," Cote said, referring to Murray's tirade. "He said he couldn't believe what he was seeing; that we were playing for a spot in the playoffs and playing such bad hockey.

"This just shows how competitive the Patrick Division is. We had a big comfortable lead, and now it's a chase again."

Washington 2 0 0 -- 4

Philadelphia 1 4 0 -- 6

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