RICHFIELD, Ohio -- Washington Capitals rookie Pat Peake and second-year man Steve Konowalchuk are getting extended playing time in these early days under the leadership of coach Jim Schoenfeld.
Last night, they paid him back in aces in the final period when it mattered most. It was Peake and Konowalchuk who broke a 2-2 tie by scoring back-to-back goals and led the way to a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
"I can't ever remember playing this much in an NHL game as I did tonight," said Konowalchuk. "When the third period started, I actually thought to myself, that I wanted to go get a goal. When the chance came, my only thought was, 'Let's go get one. Let's help.' "
When Todd Krygier scored with 5:07 to play for a three-goal margin, there was no doubt the Flyers were doomed to their fourth straight loss.
The Capitals got their third straight win and their third straight solid goaltending performance from Don Beaupre, who made 23 saves, including several heart-stoppers in the final period against Eric Lindros, Mark Recchi and Rod Brind'Amour.
The day Schoenfeld stepped in, he pointed to the Capitals' negativism. He said when something went wrong for the Capitals, they believed something else would go wrong.
He said they were beaten mentally before anyone actually beat them on the ice.
But last night, Washington demonstrated some resilience.
When the Flyers took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Recchi 4:41 into the second period, it was the perfect setup for failure.
But the Capitals didn't fold.
"We're not worrying so much about things going wrong," said Capitals center Dale Hunter, who tied the game 41 seconds later. "When you're not scoring, players get frustrated and don't play to the system.
But we've scored a little bit now. We're not trying to do too much."
In the Capitals' three wins, they've totaled 15 goals.
Meanwhile, the defense has kept the goals-against to 2.33.
"Before, we were giving up a goal and falling apart," said left wing Craig Berube. "Now we're playing stronger, with more confidence as a team. We're showing a little bit of that. We need a lot more of it."
Play was delayed for 15 minutes in the first period after a check by Konowalchuk on the Flyers' Kevin Dineen broke the door to the Philadelphia players' box. And it was stopped again in the second for nearly five minutes when the Flyers' Dimitri Yushkevich checked Al Iafrate into the glass so hard that the glass broke.
"Our momentum was really slowed by those two stoppages," said Mike Ridley, who assisted on Krygier's goal with 5:07 to play. "It's tough to just skate in circles while that stuff is going on and then start again.
"Pat's goal and Kono's were big for us in the third, because they got us going again."