Coach holds back criticism of Capitals' poor performance

TERRY KOSHAN

, Last Updated: 1:04 PM ET

Beat writers who cover the Washington Capitals could not recall a time in recent memory that the Caps played as poorly as they did last night.

Coach Glen Hanlon tried to soft-pedal the brutal performance afterward.

"We certainly did not want to get embarrassed like that," Hanlon said. "We had all kinds of opportunities to tie it up at 2-2 and then we took a couple of penalties. After that it was as if they scored on every opportunity.

"But we stuck it out. I'm not critical of where we're at or what we did out there."

There was some surprise Brent Johnson started in goal ahead of Olaf Kolzig. But the latter has just 10 wins in 29 games against Toronto in his career, and could have been saved for the Caps' game against the New York Islanders today.

Kolzig has beaten the Isles 24 times, the most wins he has against any NHL club.

The Capitals have lost a season-high five in a row.

"No one is going to help us," forward Ben Clymer said. "We've got to look for help within this room. We know if we work, we win. I like our chances every night."

Clymer acknowledged the Leafs' three-goal burst in the second period was not easy to swallow.

"It's one thing to get one, but when they bang in three in one minute, that's a pretty tough hole when we're already down one."

BRIEFLY

Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson said it is "not true" that he would have been paid by the club for 2007-08 even if it had not picked up his option for that season earlier this week.The option kicks in on July 1, 2007 ... Defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo, who has been skating after Marlies practices as he continues to recover from a hand injury, is at least a couple of weeks away from returning, Ferguson said.


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