The anticipated matchup in Saturday's Washington Capitals-Detroit Red Wings game was supposed to be between coaches Terry Murray and Bryan Murray, the first time in 13 years coaching brothers opposed each other in an NHL game.
But, as the Murrays played down this rare event, the most interesting matchup was between the Capitals' first line -- center Mike Ridley, right wing Steve Leach and left wing Kelly Miller -- and the Red Wings' high-scoring center Steve Yzerman. Washington's trio combined for two goals and three assists while shutting out Yzerman in a 6-4 victory at Capital Centre that evened the Capitals' record at 1-1.
"They outquicked us," Red Wings Coach Bryan Murray said. "Especially the Ridley line. They were really fast and made nice spin-off moves. . . . I think Steve, individually, tried real hard. But that Ridley line was real good."
"As a line, we should get better," Ridley said. "We have to play well both offensively and defensively. We can only get better by playing tough lines like Yzerman's."
The Capitals were also pleased with the type of goals they scored. As they did in advancing to the Wales Conference finals last season, they scored on tip-ins and short rebounds.
Miller scored to give Washington a 2-0 lead when defenseman Bob Rouse's shot deflected off him and past goalie Tim Cheveldae. After Bob Wilkie scored for Detroit, Rouse fired on net again. This time, Cheveldae made the save, but Peter Zezel put back the rebound for a 3-1 lead.
With the Capitals holding a 4-3 lead, Rouse got his third assist when his shot deflected in off the leg of teammate Nick Kypreos.
"In the playoffs last year, we had success doing that, trying to get the puck to the net for the forwards," said Rouse, who already has four assists after accumulating 16 last season.
As for the sibling matchup, that seemed almost forgotten by game's end. "I honestly have to say I didn't think very much about it after the game started," Bryan Murray said.
Instead, he was concerned with his own team, now 0-1-1.
"We should have scored more," he said. "Mentally, I think they were there. Physically, they have to keep their heart rate up."
Capitals Notes: Defenseman Kevin Hatcher, who didn't report to the team until Tuesday in an effort to get his contract renegotiated, said he's still trying to get into playing shape.
"It'll take time, I guess," Hatcher said. "I'm a little bit behind the play. All I can do is work hard and get on my game as quickly as possible."