The Philadelphia Flyers returned to the Verizon Center for a lunchtime matchup with the Washington Capitals. These teams last met when the Flyers beat the Capitals in overtime in the first game back after Winter Storm Jonas dumped 2-plus feet of snow on the DC area.
Capital Tom Wilson played in his 200th career NHL game.
First period: Holtby Stands On His Head.
The time clock in the Verizon Center did not want to work at the beginning of the game. Neither did the shot clock. They probably forgot to have their morning coffee. The clocks came back about five minutes into the first period.
Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner was called for two consecutive penalties in the opening minutes. Braden Holtby continued to show why he is the best goaltender in the league. The officiating was questionable with some missed calls. According to Chuck Gormley, the same referee who ejected Wayne Simmonds from the Flyers game on Saturday against the New York Rangers, refereed this game in Washington. Simmonds tried to start something Tom Wilson, but Willy wasn’t playing.
Michael Del Zotto scored his fourth of the season, assisted by Shayne Gostisbehere and Nick Cousins.
Karl Alzner for hooking and interference; Ryan White for slashing.
SCORE: Caps trail 1-0.
Second Period: Capitals Clicked.
Jason Chimera had a golden chance on the power play but nothing. The power play is now 0-for-17. Holtby made a great stop on a Flyers 3-on-1. and the Capitals started to get better chances on Flyer goaltender Steve Mason. Chimera got a semi-breakaway but fired the puck wide. The Flyers had 53 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage, which the Capitals were able to kill off. Then something great happened: two Capitals goals were scored in a 1:09. With the primary assist on the second Caps goal, Andre Burakovsky’s point streak is now at seven games.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 30th goal of the season assisted by Karl Alzner.
Dmitry Orlov scored his fifth of the season, assisted by Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Ryan White crosschecked Michael Latta; Tom Wilson for interference; Capitals bench minor for too many men.
SCORE: Caps lead Flyers 2-1.
Third Period: Nisky Business
Nick Schultz tied the game in the first minute. But 5:24 into the third period, another Capital defenseman would score the game-winning goal. Matt Niskanen skated through the Flyers like they were Swiss cheese. He went blocker side on Mason and it was a beautiful goal. With about four minutes left in regulation, Michael Latta got a big crosscheck to the back. Brooks Laich was not happy about that and some pushing and shoving ensues. The Flyers pulled Mason for the extra attacker but the Capitals would be victorious.
Nick Schultz scored his first of the season assisted by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
Matt Niskanen scored his third of the season, unassisted. Niskanen’s other two goals came in October 2015.
SCORE: Caps win 3-2
The Capitals power play is now 0-for-16 in the last 5 games. Get well soon Marcus Johansson. We miss you and your controlled zone entries. Even though the power play is dried up at the moment, the Capitals still hold the #1 spot in the NHL.
- The Capitals (38-9-4, 80 points) now have a 17-point lead on the rest of the Metropolitan division.
- They are the first team to reach 80 points and the only team to have a single digit in the loss column.
- Braden Holtby collected his 33rd win of the season, which still leads the league in that category.
- Our team is good.
The Capitals will visit three Central division teams (Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild, and Dallas Stars) before returning home to face the Pacific-leading Los Angeles Kings.
Monday, 8 Feb they have the day off.
Tuesday, 9 Feb, morning skate at Bridgestone Arena
Tuesday , 9 Feb, Nashville 8pm ET (CSN and 106.7)
Wednesday, 10 Feb, Practice, 1 pm CT at Xcel Energy Center
Thursday, 11 Feb, Wild, 8 pm ET (CSN and 106.7)
By Renee Garces
Photos by Mel Abernethy and Brittney Marcum