PHILADELPHIA -- With only one preseason game left before the regular season kicks off next week, the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers went with mostly front-line players last night, and it was the Flyers who had the best of it.
The Flyers took advantage of a goal by Mikael Renberg that bounced in off the skate of Caps defenseman Kevin Hatcher at the end of the second period to break a 2-2 tie and broke it open in the third period for a 6-2 win before 16,625 at the Spectrum.
Washington had a chance to rally in the third period when the Flyers' Josef Beranek was called for slashing, putting the Caps on the power play for four minutes.
That advantage, however, didn't last. Al Iafrate was penalized for cross checking with 2:52 left on the power play.
Beranek gave the Flyers breathing room with 8:06 left when he beat Capitals goalie Don Beaupre on a slap shot from the top of the left circle. Less than two minutes later, Rod Brind'Amour scored and Milos Holan closed out the scoring with 1:42 to play.
With 4:11 left, the game deteriorated into a boxing match. Eric Lindros pummeled Keith Jones near mid-ice, while Enrico Ciccone and Jim Cummins battled across the blue line.
Penalties totaled 26 minutes and Ciccone was given a game misconduct for being the instigator.
After a defensive first period the Caps and the Flyers picked up the pace in the second period.
Philadelphia turned two 2-on-1 breaks into two goals 35 seconds apart. Mark Recchi beat Michael Pivonka for the first goal with 9:26 to go and Josef Beranek beat Beaupre high for the second goal with 8:51 left. The Capitals countered in the closing minutes. With a 5-on-3 advantage, Al Iafrate scored his first goal of the preseason from the top of the right circle at 2:42.
The Caps weren't done. Dave Poulin stole a clearing pass from Dominic Roussel with 45 seconds left in the period, and put it into the empty net for a short-handed goal to make it 2-2.
NOTES: The NHL suspended Toronto's Doug Gilmour for one preseason game and fined him the $500 maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement, for head-butting Ciccone on Thursday. "Does that mean that during the regular season it is an automatic one-game suspension if one player head-butts another?" said Capitals general manager David Poile, who is still hoping NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will review the 21-game regular-season penalty being served by Dale Hunter for a late hit on Pierre Turgeon of the New York Islanders during last spring playoff game. "There is a lot of room between that one-game suspension to Gilmour and what is really a 30-game suspension on Hunter, counting the preseason games."