Vitek Vanecek got the call in goal for the Caps, while Martin Jones manned the Flyers net in place of Carter Hart.
Washington got the game’s first power play 5:10 into the period when Alex Ovechkin was slashed by Scott Laughton. The Flyers got the best chance in the first minute of the man advantage, Cam Atkinson breaking in on Vanecek, but Ovechkin chased Atkinson and swept the puck off his stick from behind on a fine back check. The Caps had only one shot on goal and did not convert their opportunity.
Philadelphia went a man up 18:06 into the period when Nick Jensen was sent to the penalty box for interference. The Flyers did not convert in the first 1:54 of the power play, the remaining seconds carrying over into the second period, where the teams would resume in a scoreless game.
-- Philadelphia doubled up on the Caps in shots, 12-6, and they out-attempted them, 25-15.
-- John Carlson led the Caps with two shots on goal
-- Dmitry Orlov logged 7:42 in ice time to lead the team.
-- The Caps were credited with five hits – Garnet Hathaway had three, Nick Jensen had two.
Washington went up a man for the second time in the contest 5:28 into the period when, at the Flyer bench, Derick Brassard was caught for bench interference, taking a shot at Garnet Hathaway from inside the players’ bench. The Caps generated more pressure than they did on their first power play, but they could not convert.
The Flyers dominated possession and wore the Caps’ defense down, eventually taking the lead when Brassard one-timed a pass from Cam Atkinson from below the goal line, sending the puck high to the far side past Vanecek to make it 1-0, Flyers, at the 11:18 mark.
Philadelphia doubled their lead 15:44 into the period when Sean Couturier fought for position at the side of the crease and banged a rebound of a Rasmus Ristolainen shot between the pads of Vanecek. It would be the last of the scoring in the period, Philly taking a 2-0 lead to the second intermission.
-- The Flyers outshot the Caps, 14-11, in the period and out-attempted Washington 25-18.
-- Garnet Hathaway finished the period with six credited hits for the game.
-- Daniel Sprong led the team with three shots and five shot attempts in the first 40 minutes.
Washington finally got on the board at the 6:02 mark on a sweet play by the rookies, Connor McMichael and Brett Leason. McMichael charged down the right wing and angled to the goal, but before disappearing around the back of the net, he slid the puck back to Leason at the post to the left of goalie Martin Jones. Leason chipped the puck up and over Jones’ shoulder to give Washington some life early in the period.
Washington created pressure in the Flyers’ crease in the 14th minute of the period and forced the Flyers to take a holding-the-stick penalty at the 13:40 mark, Nick Seeler going to the box. The Caps had their chances, five shots in all, including a one-timer from Ovechkin that Jones turned aside, but they could not get the equalizer.
The Caps applied severe pressure late when Vanecek was lifted for an extra skater in the last two minutes, but the Flyers held on for the 2-1 win.
-- Closing with a rush, the Caps tied the Flyers in shots on goal for the game at 32 apiece; Philadelphia had the edge in shot attempts, 62-57.
-- After a slow start, Alex Ovechkin finished with a team-leading six shots on goal and ten shot attempts.
-- Nic Dowd finished an uncharacteristic 4-for-12 on faceoffs, his worst performance by percentage (33.3 percent) this season and only the second time in eight games he was under 50 percent.
-- Garnet Hathaway was credited with six hits, almost a third of the Caps’ total (19).
-- Thirteen of 18 skaters had blocked shots for the Caps, led by John Carlson (four).
-- Dmitry Orlov had an odd evening as far as ice time goes. By period – first: 7:42; second: 6:42; third: 4:25.
-- Dowd and Hendrix Lapierre were the only Caps without a shot attempt for the evening.
-- Carlson led the team with 22:39 in ice time; Martin Fehervary led in even strength ice time (18:13).
-- The Caps are now 0-2-4 in one-goal games this season, all of their losses coming by that margin.
-- Martin Jones stopped 31 of 32 shots for the Flyers, giving him 95 saves on 99 shots so far this season (.960); Vitek Vanecek stopped 30 of 32 shots (.938). Breaking a four-game personal streak of save percentages under .900.
In the end…
The Caps started slowly, fell behind, and played with fury in the last period. It was not enough. It’s hard to exercise the third-period level of effort for 60 minutes, but they were entirely too lethargic in the first 40 minutes. As for the margin of defeat, one hopes that there will be a correction for the Caps, who have come up short in one-goal decisions six times in 11 games. And it has cost them, Washington now in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. The slow starts and one-goal margins are not a recipe for success, and they need to have better starts to keep from putting themselves in one-goal situations.