Capitals Collapse in 5-1 Loss to Flyers

Bad goals, little effort results in a loss

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 13: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates off the ice as the Philadelphia Flyers celebrate a goal in the second period at Verizon Center on December 13, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

    The Capitals collapsed Tuesday night in a 5-1 loss to the Flyers at the Verizon Center.

    The offense was AWOL. The defense was porous. And the goaltending was, well, questionable at times.

    How bad was it?

    "I wouldn't have wanted to pay money to see that game tonight if I was a Caps' fan," winger Troy Brouwer said in a very bleak, very quiet locker room after the loss.

    That pretty much sums it up. It was a forgettable performance by the Caps against a team riddled with injuries to star players. But despite not having Claude Giroux, Chris Pronger and others, the Flyers were still able to put a five-spot on the scoreboard.

    The Capitals, meanwhile, well...

    "It's an ugly game," Jeff Halpern said.

    "We turned it into a practice with our d-zone coverage and their cycle, and ... they embarrassed us because of it," Halpern added.

    Needless to say, no one in the Caps' locker room was happy with the performance.

    And the first goal -- a softie allowed by Tomas Vokoun -- seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game.

    Scott Hartnell picked up a loose puck at center, skated into the Caps' zone and let go of what looked like a harmless wrister on Vokoun. Dennis Wideman tried to get his stick in the way, but the shot got through clean on Vokoun, who simply let it go five-hole.

    An added insult: Jaromir Jagr got an assist on the play. When it was announced at the Phone Booth, he was promptly booed by his former fans. That was a common theme whenever Jagr touched the puck in the first period. But as the game wore on and the red light continued to burn for Flyer goals, those boos subsided.

    The second period was a backbreaker for the Caps. Mathieu Perreault deflected a shot past his own goalie to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead. Then Wayne Simmonds tipped another shot past Vokoun to make it 3-0. A few minutes later Max Talbot made it 4-0 with another questionable goal allowed by Vokoun on a wrister from just inside the blue line.

    "We all know he would like a couple back, and he knows it, everybody knows it," coach Dale Hunter said of Vokoun, who was pulled after two periods in favor of Michal Neuvirth.

    That fourth goal was also troubling for another reason. Alex Ovechkin turned the puck over just inside the Flyers' zone, which led to the goal at the other end. Ovi tried to bust out a wicked stickhandling display against the left boards after crossing the blue line. But Braydon Coburn would have none of it. He rubbed out the Caps' star against the glass and got the puck up to James Van Riemsdyk, who dished it to Talbot, who scored the goal. The moral of the story: Vokoun isn't the only one who'd like to have one back in this game.

    The Flyers made it 5-0 on another tip in the crease in the third, and Halpern finally solved Ilya Bryzgalov late to end a shutout bid. But by that time the damage was done.

    "It was a pretty bad game for all of us," Ovechkin said afterwords.

    Those who paid money to watch it would probably agree.