November 18, 2018

Washington Capitals Game 61 Recap: Caps win streak snapped in Philly

The Washington Capitals’ four-game win streak was brought to an end on Sunday with a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Despite battling back from a 2-0 deficit, the Caps were unable to finish off the Flyers and instead gave up a late third-period goal for the loss.

The Caps had another sluggish start and found themselves down 2-0 in the second period. Claude Giroux snapped an 11-game goalless drought with an early power play goal and Wayne Simmonds added another power play tally in the second. Tom Wilson finally got the Caps on the board and Joel Ward caught Philadelphia goalie Robb Zepp off guard with a rolling puck chipped into the top shelf to tie it in the second.

Late in the third, however, with the game tied at 2, the Caps lost track of Michael Del Zotto on a line change and he was able to beat Braden Holtby on a wide-open shot with just over four minutes left to go in the game. Holtby seemed upset after the play after some minor contact with Philadelphia’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare at the top of the crease, but there was not enough there for a call.

The game was the last regular season matchup with the Flyers. The Caps managed only a 1-2-1 record against their divisional rivals.

Game notes:

  • If it looked like the Caps were sleepy to start the game, you may be right. The team was awakened at 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning when the fire alarm went off in their hotel. The Caps did not look very good at all to start the game as they failed to register a shot until nine minutes in and went down 2-0 in the second period.
  • Barry Trotz got creative again with the lineup which is exactly what you want to see on a four-game win streak. Jay Beagle started the game on the top line while Andre Burakovsky was a healthy scratch. Beagle didn’t last there very long as he took a penalty early in the game and was relegated back to the fourth line. The move was likely in response to how ineffective Alex Ovechkin looked Saturday against the Islanders. He had a very quiet three shots and was really not a factor. Beagle on the top line is a ‘back to the basics’ lineup for Trotz. Did it work? Yes and no. Ovechkin had a fairly good game despite not registering any points. He hit the post twice in the first period and added five shots for the game. Beagle looked like a fourth line player playing on the top line. He took an early penalty that led to an early goal and that was it.
  • The Caps’ special teams were horrendous in this game. Just unbelievably terrible. Philadelphia scoring on 2 of 4 power plays was bad enough, but it was the power play that was really eye opening. The Caps went 0 for 5 and struggled to even get a shot off. Whenever the Flyers cleared the puck, the Caps simply could not get the puck into the offensive zone. It was shocking to see the NHL’s second best power play look as clueless as the Caps did today.
  • Tom Wilson’s goal was his first in 35 games. He has has now matched last season’s total of three goals. Only three goals at this point in the season has to be a bit disappointing for someone who played in the playoffs two seasons ago and was mismanaged last season. I have to wonder how much of it is due to line shuffling. A young player like him would likely benefit from having consistent linemates even if it’s just on the fourth line.
  • Braden Holtby was called on yet again for the back-to-back start after registering the win on Saturday. The Flyers were in the same position as Zepp got the nod for Philadelphia one day after earning the win over Nashville. Both goalies played very well with Holtby making 25 of 28 saves and Zepp making 21 of 23.
  • Niskanen is not a very popular guy in Philadelphia right now. He gave Scott Laughton a concussion earlier in the season that kept the rookie out of the lineup for seven games. Then in Sunday’s game, he was called for kneeing Sean Couturier late in the first period. It did not appear intentional, Couturier dragged his back leg and Niskanen skated into him, but when Couturier had to be helped off the ice the Flyers’ faithful did not sound too pleased. Couturier returned for the second period, but I doubt all is forgiven in Philadelphia.
About J.J. Regan

J.J. Regan is a contributor to District Sports Page. He also is a college football and NHL blogger for CSNwashington.com and CSNbaltimore.com and has a master's degree in interactive journalism from American University. Regan follows all DC sports but focuses mainly on the the Caps and college football. You can view his online portfolio at regansports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheDC_Sportsguy.

Trackbacks

  1. […] video (Trotz, Holtby, Alzner, Niskanen, Backstrom), NHL.com, AP, WaPo, CSNW, Peerless, Frankovic, DSP (plus three stars), Stars and Sticks, RMNB and from the Flyerz end of the ice, Broad Street Hockey […]

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