Dino Ciccarelli spent a lot of time on the Capital Centre ice last night, the target of a physical pounding by the Philadelphia Flyers. Ciccarelli eventually got his revenge as his goal with 5:33 left in regulation time enabled the Washington Capitals to escape with a 3-3 tie.

Ciccarelli outfought one of his night-long tormentors, Terry Carkner, for possession of the puck behind the Philadelphia net. Then he skated quickly in front and swept it by goaltender Ron Hextall.

"Our line -- with Kelly Miller {one goal and one assist} and Mike Ridley {two assists} -- was working hard all night and we got a couple of breaks and scored," Ciccarelli said. "On my goal, I was able to kick the puck ahead on my skate and I scored on a wraparound play. Most of my goals aren't pretty, but I'm working hard around the net."

In the process, Ciccarelli took some wicked thumps from Carkner and Kjell Samuelsson, at one time limping off the ice with a charley horse.

"I get a lot of goals in front of the net," Ciccarelli said. "It's not easy to get there. I take some lumps and I have to stick my nose in. That's my game. They're doing their job and I'm doing mine."

Said Carkner: "Ciccarelli, I don't care for him, but he can put the puck in the net. We played a strong third period except Ciccarelli beat me out to the front of the net. We win the game if that doesn't happen."

The result put a slight taint on Washington Coach Terry Murray's record against Philadelphia, for whom he once played. The Capitals had won all five meetings since Murray took over from his brother, Bryan, a year ago.

Asked if there was a secret about handling the Flyers, Murray said: "If there was a secret, I'd apply it to a few other teams. It's a good rivalry. We got some good bounces and we tied it on a typical Dino goal, the kind only Dino can score."

It was a strange game, in which most of the action and all but one of the goals occurred at the same end of the ice.

The Flyers, limited to a club-record-low 13 shots in a 4-1 loss here Dec. 11, managed only four in the first period and two in the third period last night. But they rolled up 17 in the second as they checked Washington to a standstill.

The big period turned a 2-1 Washington lead into a 3-2 advantage for Philadelphia and it might have been decisive except for the superb play of the Capitals' goalie, Don Beaupre.

"Thank goodness we had two of those" periods, Murray said. "They played very well in the second period. They made adjustments, cut the ice off and we kept trying to go through them instead of around them. Beaupre came up as big as you'd like to see him come up. He kept us in there until we were able to adjust."

Murray Craven sent the Flyers ahead on their second shot of the game, then Nick Kypreos tied it on Washington's first shot at Hextall. Miller gave the Capitals their only lead in a four-on-four situation as Hextall, instead of making a routine blocker save, had the puck carom off his stick and into the net.

Jiri Latal and Derrick Smith scored for Philadelphia in the second period, Smith at the finish of a three-on-two that saw all three Washington forwards caught in the neutral zone.

Ciccarelli was not the only Capital in subpar shape afterward. Ridley was struck in the mouth by the butt end of teammate Rod Langway's stick during a scuffle along the boards in the second period. Although Ridley finished the game, he lost some teeth and was scheduled for late-night dental work so he could fly to Boston for tonight's game against the Bruins.

"Rod spun off somebody and caught me really hard," Ridley said, his mouth bloody.

Referee Andy Van Hellemond did not award either team a power play from late in the first period until four minutes had elapsed in the five-minute overtime. Then he sent Latal off for pulling down Miller, a foul that was nullified 13 seconds later when the Capitals' John Druce hooked down Keith Acton.

The Capitals almost won it in the extra period. Michal Pivonka sent Dimitri Khristich in alone, but Hextall dove out and got enough of the puck to deflect it over the net.