The Washington Capitals headed up I-95 for a matinee matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon in the last game the Caps will play in the regular season in South Philly this season. The Caps came into this game with a five-game winning streak against the Flyers after dropping their opening meeting of the season. On the other side, the Flyers have fallen on hard times, going 9-13-3 in their last 25 games. The hard times continued for the Flyers as the Caps won going away, 6-3.
The Captain got the Caps off and running early. With Justin Braun in the penalty box for tripping at 2:42, Alex Ovechkin converted for Caps. The Caps worked the puck around the perimeter, Nicklas Backstrom from the goal line to Evgeny Kuznetsov on the right wing wall, to John Carlson at the top of the offensive zone, and final a pass to Ovechkin for a one-timer from The Office that beat goalie Alex Lyon on the short side to make it 1-0, 3:58 into the period.
Washington got another power play when Sam Morin went off for unsportsmanlike conduct at 8:11 of the period. The Caps did not convert and went short a man when Nick Jensen skated to the penalty box for a holding penalty at 11:35 of the period. The Flyers did not convert, and the Caps held on to their one-goal lead.
They would not hold on to that lead going into the first intermission. Ivan Provorov took a feed from Claude Giroux and from long range fired a one-timer past two Capitals skating across goalie Ilya Samsonov’s line of vision and past Samsonov’s glove with 1.0 seconds left in the period.
-- Philadelphia was held to two even strength shots in the period, scoring on the latter (three power play shots, one shorthanded). Ivan Provorov had both even strength shots.
-- The Caps outshot the Flyers, 11-6, and out-attempted them, 22-15.
-- Nicklas Backstrom led the team with three shots on goal in the period.
-- Nic Dowd led the Caps with three credited hits in the first 20 minutes.
The Caps scored even earlier to start this period than they did in the first period. Dmitry Orlov scored just 33 seconds into the period when he took a puck rebounding off the left wing wall and one-timed it past Lyon’s blocker on the short side to give the Caps their second lead of the game.
The Flyers tied it up when Conor Sheary and Lars Eller collided, leaving a loose puck for Nicolas Aube-Kubel to gather up and feed James van Riemsdyk on a breakaway. Van Riemsdyk beat Samsonov through the five-hole at the 5:28 mark.
Washington went to the power play for the third time when Aube-Kubel was send off for hooking at 6:11. The power play lasted four seconds. T.J. Oshie tied up Sen Couturier on a faceoff to Lyon’s left, Evgeny Kuznetsov swooped in to kick the puck back to John Carlson at the right point. Carlson fed the puck across to Ovechkin in The Office for a one-timer that beat Lyon on the short side at 6:15 of the period to make it 3-2, Caps.
Kuznetsov got a goal of his own late in the period. From the left point he fed the puck deep to Tom Wilson in the corner. With Braun hanging on Wilson along the left wing wall, Wilson sent a lovely backhand pass to Kuznetsov strolling unmarked down the slot. Kuznetsov had his choice of places to shoot at and dialed up “over Lyon’s right pad” to beat the Flyer goalie at the 15:02 mark to make it a 4-2 game.
-- Through two periods, the Caps outshot the Flyers at even strength, 26-10.
-- Washington outshot the Flyers, 19-10, in the second period and out-attempted them, 27-17.
-- Every Capital had at least one shot attempt through 40 minutes except T.J. Oshie.
The Caps went short a man early, T.J. Oshie picking up an interference penalty at 1:09 of the period. The Flyers did not convert, but they got another chance when Conor Sheary went off for tripping at 5:14 of the period.
Wade Allison converted for the Flyers for his first NHL goal, finishing off a well-executed passing sequence back and forth across the offensive zone for a lay-up into what became an empty net, making it a 4-3 game at the 7:02 mark.
Conor Sheary restored the Caps’ two-goal lead in the tenth minute of the period. Off another faceoff win in the offensive end, the puck came back to Justin Schultz at the right point. Walking the puck along the blue line to find a shooting lane, Schultz fired, his shot redirected by the heel of Sheary’s stick past Lyon at the 9:15 mark to make it 5-3, Caps.
Just over a minute later, the Caps went to the power play, Travis Konecny going to the box for goaltender interference at 10:42. The Caps did not convert and skated on holding on to their two goal lead. The Caps went right back to the power play, though, Kevin Hayes going off for slashing at 14:36 of the period. The Caps tried to get Ovechkin the hat trick, and he was on the ice for the entire two-minute power play, but the Caps did not convert.
Anthony Mantha closed the scoring for the Caps, potting an empty net goal with 1:12 remaining to seal the 6-3 win.
-- Alex Ovechkin’s first period goal against Alex Lyon made Lyon the 147th goalie against whom Ovechkin has scored a goal in his career.
-- When he scored on a power play in the second period for his second goal of the game, it was Ovechkin’s 149th career multi-goal game, fourth all-time behind Wayne Gretzky (189), Brett Hull (158), and Mario Lemieux (154).
-- John Carlson had four assists, a single game career high. He is the fifth defenseman in Caps’ history with at least one four-assist game. Scott Stevens (three times), Robert Picard (twice), Larry Murphy, and Bob Rouse are the others.
-- Anthony Mantha scored his third goal in three games as a Capital. It extended his personal goal streak to four games (he scored in his last game with Detroit), a career high.
-- When Conor Sheary scored in the third period, it marked the fourth straight game against the Flyers that the Caps scored five or more goals.
-- The Caps outshot the Flyers, 41-25, and out-attempted them for the game, 68-48.
-- Every Capital recorded a shot on goal except Justin Schultz and T.J. Oshie. Oshie was the only Capital without a shot attempt for the game. Alex Ovechkin and Daniel Sprong led the team with five shots apiece; Ovechkin led the team with 12 shot attempts.
-- Nic Dowd had an uncharacteristically weak game in the faceoff circle, going 2-for-11 (18.2 percent), but he did lead the team in credited hits with five.
-- The Caps outshot the Flyers at even strength, 34-12. The 12 shots at even strength were the second-fewest allowed by the Caps in a game this season. They allowed 11 to the Flyers on March 11th in a 5-3 win.
-- With the win, Ilya Samsonov ran his record this season against the Flyers to 5-0. He is the eighth goaltender to record at least five wins against the Flyers in a single season. The others are Martin Brodeur (three times), Henrik Lundqvist (twice), Gerry Cheevers, Rick DiPietro, Marc-Andre Fleury, Glenn Healy, and Chris Terreri.
In the end…
A good win. Not a great one, but a good one. There were a few to many defensive lapses to qualify… oh hell, it was against the Flyers, in Philly, so it’s a great win. Now, do it again in Boston.