The Flyers welcomed the Capitals to town for the second of three meetings this week. With Brian Elliott in net and Phil Myers a healthy scratch, it was clear they were looking to build off their shootout victory over Buffalo.
The first period of the game started poorly as the Capitals were given an early power play. The Flyers were able to kill off the penalty thanks in part to an excellent save by Brian Elliott on an Alex Ovechkin one timer. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t last as sloppy play to a turnover and Ovechkin made no mistake this time, burying one off the post past Elliott.
This was the fourth time in three games played that Ovechkin has been able to score. He had not been able register a point against the Flyers in the previous season.
Soon after the Ovechkin goal, the Capitals gave the Flyers a chance on the power play. After some pretty passing, Kevin Hayes ripped a shot right off the crossbar, but the Flyers stayed with the puck. This eventually led to Travis Konecny ripping a shot from the slot for a power play goal after a sweet birthday gift in the feed from Hayes.
After tying the game up, the Capitals brand the pressure and Elliott was forced to make a big save on Ovechkin. Once again, sloppy play with the puck and an offensive zone turnover from Nicolas Aube-Kubel lead to a breakaway goal for Conor Sheary, giving the Capitals a 2-1 lead.
This goal marked the 11th time this season that the Flyers have given up a goal less than two minutes after scoring one of their own, highlighting an asset of their game that they need to get under control.
The Flyers were playing lifelessly, but a spark came in a fight between Andy Andreoff and Garnet Hathaway. Andreoff landed some heavy shots and controlled the bout. The Flyers bench gained some energy, as Andreoff did exactly what the team needed him to do.
The team was able to take this energy and generate some solid offensive zone time and a couple chances but the Capitals’ Ilya Samsonov was able to keep it all out, leading to a score of 2-1 at the end of the first.
The Flyers came back out in the second period and were able to keep up the pressure before a Konecny penalty put them down a man. Elliott played a strong game to this point and kept a lot of good scoring chances out of the net.
While they killed off the penalty, it did not stop the momentum in favor of the Capitals as John Carlson was left wide open on an odd man rush to put the Capitals up 3-1. This goal marked Carlson’s 500 career point, an impressive milestone but one the Flyers wish they could have prevented tonight.
The Flyers continued to struggle with puck control and turnovers, leading to odd man rushes. Yet another turnover lead to an odd man rush and ended with Nic Dowd banking a shot off of Gostisbehere’s leg and in, giving the Capitals a 4-1 lead. To this point in the game the Capitals had four goals on 15 shots as they took advantage of bad turnovers.
With 1:29 remaining in the second, the teams would end up heading to the locker room. A crack in a pane of glass forced an early departure.
After the intermission and the resume to the second period, the Flyers were able to keep up pressure but couldn’t find the back of the net. Konecny ended up taking some frustration out on Zdeno Chara with a slash and. Chara would retaliate, leading to both being sent to the penalty box to start the third period.
The extra space on the ice led to a nice pass from Sean Couturier to Ivan Provorov who buried a goal past Samsonov, bringing the Flyers within two Erik Gustafsson picked up an assist on Provorov’s goal, which marked his 100th career assist.
Soon after the goal, the Flyers were forced to play in their defensive zone as they were plagued with more turnovers and sloppy zone exits. Eventually they broke out and the Mustache Line was out on an odd man rush. Konecny passed the puck over to Hayes who slide it to Scott Laughton. He banked one off the post to bring the Flyers within a goal with 9:15 to go in the final frame.
The Flyers were given a chance to tie the game on a late too many men on the ice call against the Capitals. They were able to score on a strong power play early in the game, but this time looked sloppy with the puck and they were never given a chance to set up.
With 1:42 left in the game, the Flyers pulled Elliott to get an extra attacker to try to complete a comeback and force overtime for the second game in a row. The Capitals, though, had other plans and solid defense lead to them netting an empty net goal from Nic Dowd, his second of the game, to put the Flyers away and secure two points for their efforts.
The Flyers will look to comeback against the Capitals on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center again, but the players and coaches have a lot to talk about and work out before that game.