The Washington Capitals played a terrific 50 minutes against one of their all-time rivals — and the team directly in front of them in the standings. Unfortunately, late penalties marred the previous efforts and allowed the Philadelphia Flyers to tie the game in regulation, then win in overtime, keeping the Caps in fourth place in the division.
Simply put, it was a waste of a point the Caps rightly should have had in their back pocket.
Braden Holtby made 31 saves and was spectacular at times, but the Caps went 0-for-6 on the power play and crumbled at the end, allowing the Flyers style to get them out of their game. Dmitry Orlov — who should have been the hero with the first two-goal game of his career – instead ended up the goat as his five-minute boarding penalty, which will almost certainly receive review at the league level, allowed the Flyers late life.
The Caps got on top early, with Orlov booming a slapshot past Flyers goalie Steve Mason (25 saves). Five minutes later, Claude Giroux answered for Philly, with a wrist shot that flashed through the goal and back out so quickly, the on-ice referees couldn’t see in go in. After two more minues of play, the goal was reviewed and counted for the Flyers.
A few moments later, Nicklas Backstrom appeared to have gotten a puck through Mason, but defenseman Mark Streit sweeped the puck off the goaline. Another review ensued, and the call on the ice — no goal — stood.
The Caps did find the back of the net just a moment later, as Marcus Johansson did a great job establishing position in the crease to tap in a pass from Jason Chimera from the right wing corner.
The Flyers came out buzzing in the second period, but Braden Holtby was up to the task early, making a series of spectacular saves, incluing batting a puck away with his paddle baseball-style. Unfortunately, a turnover by Alex Ovechkin in his own end on the power play led to Adam Hall’s short-handed goal from right out in front of the net.
Washington answered less than a minute later, with Jay Beagle picking up his second goal of the year, assisted by Joel Ward and Mike Green. Then three minutes later, Orlov scored his second of the game, a blast from center point that got through a maze of bodies.
But penalties played a huge part of the third period. With Orlov off for the major, John Erskine allowed Steve Downie to get under his skin. The pair went off for coincidental roughings. A minute later, Jacob Voracek’s slapshot got past Holtby to pull the Flyers within one.
After the late penalties were settled, the Flyers forced overtime with the Caps at full-strength. With the goalie pulled and time winding down, Voracek sent one into the slot, which was redirected by Giroux and past Holtby for his second of the game.
Then in overtime, Vincent Lecavalier’s wrist shot deprived the Caps of the extra point and a tie of third place in the division.
With one point, the Caps tied Detroit for the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference, but it’s little solace when they should have had a four-point swing with the Flyers.