Flyers keep Capitals winless on road, 4-2


PHILADELPHIA -- The Washington Capitals came searching for their first road victory of the season against the Philadelphia Flyers last night, but they didn't find it.

Instead, they found so much frustration that even coach Jim Schoenfeld, who can always be counted on for the silver lining, was morose.

"I don't know how many different ways there are to explain our losses," said Schoenfeld. "But the fact is we keep finding different ways to lose. What else can you say? We just find different ways to lose every game.

"Tonight, you can start in the first period with goaltending, then you can go to their third goal, where you get out-hustled, out-muscled one-on-one, then you can take our dominance in the second period and our collapse in the third period."

Last night, it was a goal by Shjon Podein with 4:43 gone in the third period that sent Washington to a 4-2 loss. Eric Lindros scored into an open net with 18 seconds left.

Washington, 0-7-4 on the road and 3-10-5 overall, will be looking for that elusive first road win tomorrow night on Long Island against the New York Islanders.

The Capitals fought from behind twice, but it was not a good night for the defensive tandem of Mark Tinordi and Calle Johansson, who were on the ice for all three of Philadelphia's goals, or for starting goalie Rick Tabaracci.

And in the end, it was not a satisfying night for Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig, either. He performed well through most of the second and third periods. But there came the moment when the Capitals needed the huge save.

With 4:43 gone in the final period, with the Flyers' Rod Brind'Amour getting around Tinordi and fighting off Dale Hunter to get the puck across the ice to Podein, Kolzig couldn't stop the blast that blew past him into the back of the net.

"I thought I had that moment when I stopped Lindros earlier," said Kolzig, who relieved Tabaracci at the start of the second period and saved 19 of the 20 shots he faced. "And I thought I had Podein all the way. I was coming across. I didn't see the shot, but I thought the only way he could beat me was to go upstairs.

"And he put it a half-inch over my 3 1/2 -inch wide stick. Four inches off the ice. He found the seam again, and it's getting frustrating. He found the spot. It went over my stick and under my belly. I don't know. I'm 220 pounds, and the puck seems to find the two inches between my stick and my body."

After the Caps scrapped back from a 1-0 deficit to tie the game on a goal by Keith Jones with 1:01 left in the first period, Philadelphia defenseman Eric Desjardins skated between Tinordi and Johansson and kept on going for an open shot.

"I don't know. You tell me how the goal was scored," said an annoyed Tinordi, who later calmed down. "It's just the same old thing. We're one goal short. We have to find a way to win. We've got to find a key, and we've got to have super efforts from everyone to get out of this."

Kelly Miller, the third man back on the play, took the blame for putting his defensemen in jeopardy.

"I made the decision to take the winger," he said. "I probably should have just stayed back and played defense, but I thought I was making the right decision. It didn't turn out that way."

Desjardins beat a slow-reacting Tabaracci, whose face screwed up in pain as the puck flew untouched into the goal.

There were 24 seconds left in the first period when Desjardins scored.

"The play could have been stopped at the blue line," said Schoenfeld, "but even after that, after he got by everyone, I'm sure Tabby would like that one back."

The Capitals emerged from the locker room after the first intermission with Kolzig in goal.

With Peter Bondra in the locker room with a mild concussion after a first-period collision with Lindros' shoulder/forearm, the remaining part of that line, Michal Pivonka and Dimitri Khristich, went to work during a four-on-four opportunity.

ka,5 Khristich skated into the attacking third and shot. The rebound was one of the few to elude Ron Hextall, who made 24 saves. Pivonka smashed it into the back of the net with 7:02 gone.

The Caps nearly took the lead on a short-handed effort by Dave Poulin a little later. But for Hextall, who made a terrific stop that thrilled the sellout crowd of 17,380 at the Spectrum, it would have been 3-2 Washington.

But it wasn't, and even if there were signs of improvement in that period, Schoenfeld wasn't interested. "Doesn't matter," he said. "We lost.

"This is just another loss," said Schoenfeld. "It's hard to see the silver lining after loss after loss. It's only going to be a silver lining if we make it. It's not going to produce itself. It takes all 20 guys every night, not 15."

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