LANDOVER -- Kevin Kaminski scored his first goal of the season yesterday, Jim Carey recorded his second shutout in two days, and the Washington Capitals got a five-day break.
All in all, it was a pretty good day for the Capitals, who defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-0, before a sellout crowd of 18,130 at USAir Arena.
"We kept looking at what a blessing this break was going to be, and now we're playing so well, you almost wish you could continue," said Caps coach Jim Schoenfeld, whose team is 3-0-1 in its past four games. "In the long run it is going to be great because we have a lot of guys on the limp and it's a great time of the year to revitalize both physically and emotionally.
"It will be good, because we'll have Mark [Tinordi, mild concussion] and Peter [Bondra, groin strain] back and we should really be able to attack March with a vengeance."
The Caps, who beat the Boston Bruins, 2-0, on Saturday, have yet to lose or give up a goal in March. For that they can thank Carey, who earned his league-best sixth shutout of the season after making 27 saves against the defending Atlantic Division champions.
"We had a long road trip and got in late last night. To come out and give an effort like that is a credit to the whole team," said Carey (27-18-6), who moved within two of the Caps' season record for victories (Don Beaupre, 29, 1990-91). "It wasn't all me, it was a team thing. They played well, and if they didn't, I wouldn't have gotten a shutout."
Neither team could produce much offense in the first period, but the Caps took a 1-0 lead when Jeff Nelson fed defenseman Sergei Gonchar behind the cage and he converted with 46 seconds left.
The Flyers launched 16 shots on goal in the second period but came up empty.
The Caps took a two-goal lead at 2:36 of the second period when Steve Konowalchuk, the team's second-leading goal-scorer, beat Philadelphia goalie Ron Hextall one-on-one on a power play for his 22nd goal.
Kaminski, who missed six games early this season with a rib injury, put the Caps ahead 3-0 at 4:18 of the second period. Kaminski was tripped by Dan Kordic but got off the shot before hitting the ice and joining the puck in the back of the net, only the second goal of his 87-game NHL career.
"I was going to pass to [Pat] Peake and someone knocked me down, so there was nothing much else to do but take a little swipe at it," said Kaminski, whose first goal came in a March 1995 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while."
Said Schoenfeld: "It was classic Kevin Kaminski. He fights through the checks, the hooks and he stays with the puck. It's a bonus when your fourth line gives you the good quality time the way ours has."
Philadelphia's top two scorers -- Eric Lindros and John LeClair -- combined for 10 shots, including six by LeClair in the second period, but couldn't solve Carey.
"They had one good period and we weathered the storm," said Carey. "We got two goals of our own, a couple of good bounces went our way and that was it."