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.

For a few moments, it appeared that they might find their fourth straight tie, but the goal, that was forged by Keith Jones and Dale Hunter pushing the puck under Hextall, was called off. The officials said the "puck was frozen."

Kind of like the Capitals, who seem to be sinking further into the deep freeze game-by-game.

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.

Washington fought from behind twice last night. 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 Flyer Rod Brind'Amour getting around Tinordi and fighting off Dale Hunter to get the puck across the ice to Podein, and Kolzig couldn't stop the blast that blew past him into the back of the net.

The Capitals have had to scrap for every inch. They come into every game as the underdog. And they come into every game knowing that every goal the opposing team scores could be the big one.

So, after having 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, the groan was almost audible when Philadelphia defenseman Eric Desjardins skated between Tinordi and Johansson and kept on going for an open shot at the Caps net and goaltender.

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

With Peter Bondra in the locker room with a giant-sized headache after a first-period collision between his head and Lindros' shoulder, the remaining part of that line, Michal Pivonka and Dimitri Khristich, went to work during a four-on-four opportunity.

Khristich skated into the attacking third and shot. The rebound eluded Philadelphia goalie Ron Hextall, and Pivonka smashed it into the back of the net with 7:02 gone in the period.

The Caps nearly took the lead on a short-handed effort by Dave Poulin. 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 dominated play, controlling the puck, playing sound defense and allowing the Flyers five shots in the second period.

Philadelphia's first goal came 4:47 into the opening period and, like the second one, it was made possible when a Flyer was able to get past Tinordi and Johansson. That time, it was Dave Brown skating in for a pass to Jim Montgomery, who shot the puck past Tabaracci's legs.

It was Tabaracci's second disappointing performance in Philadelphia. When the Caps were last here, Feb. 13, he allowed four goals in 18 minutes before being pulled. He later said he had a groin injury and did not play again until last Sunday, in a 1-1 tie with Ottawa.

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