Wrap: Flyers Unable to Close out Caps, Lose 3-2 in OT
The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Washington Capitals in overtime, 3-2, at Capital One Arena on Wednesday evening. Alexander Ovechkin scored his 10th goal of the season to end the game at 1:04 of overtime.
The Flyers led by scores of 1-0 and 2-1 and never trailed in regulation. They couldn't close it out late in the third period. Philadelphia is now winless in eight games (0-5-3).
Morgan Frost (3rd goal of the season) had some overdue puck luck on a tally at 5:27 of the first period. He gained entry on a 1-on-2. From the top of the left circle, he wristed a rising shot that goalie Darcy Kuemper misplayed. The puck hit the goalie in the shoulder and then bounced into the net. The assists went to Travis Sanheim and Joel Farabee.
Frost has had five breakaways over the course of the first 20 games of the season plus and an additional seven scoring chances from the "home plate" area below and between the dots. Nonetheless, he'd gone 18 games without a goal since scoring twice on opening night.
Washington forward Marcus Johansson had a would-be power play goal disallowed for kicking the puck into the net but then scored one that counted (5th) later on the same man advantage at 11:05. The goal was initially credited to Ovechkin, who followed up on a loose puck by sliding a shot between Felix Sandström's pads. Johansson' stick touched the puck before it crossed the goal line. Ovechkin and Oshie earned the assists.
In the second period, the Flyers were heavily outshot by the Caps but scored the only goal. A Patrick Brown deflection (1st) of an Ivan Provorov shot at 14:33 gave Philadelphia a 2-1 edge heading into the third period. The Flyers worked the puck the perimeter, with Tony DeAngelo walking the blue line. Provorov skated down to the right circle and backhanded the puck at the net. From near the right post, Brown tipped the puck home.
The Flyers held Washington to six shots in the third period, but the Caps got a goal by Sonny Milano (3rd) on a borderline onside/offside rush at 17:02 to force overtime. The rush started out behind the Wahington net. The Caps rushed the length of the ice to score as Evgeny Kuznetsov traversed the neutral zone and passed to Oshie at/just over the blueline. Kuznetov then received a return pass. From the right side of the slot, Kuznetsov passed across to an open Milano for a tap-in.
After the game, Tortorella said through gritted teeth that the tying goal should not have been a difficult play to stop.
"In my opinion, it's a pretty simple coverage, and we're not making it. I thought our game in the third period was very good right up until a coverage -- not from a young guy -- is blown. It's a coverage we've gone over time again and again," Tortorella said.
Asked what can be done to fix the problem, Tortorella sighed.
"We'll keep going over it," he said.
There were three "young guys" on the ice -- the forward trio of Frost, Owen Tippett and Farabee -- when Washington scored the tying goal. The veterans on the ice were the defense pair of Provorov and DeAngelo.
In fairness, it seems like there were a couple of chances both in the neutral zone and defensive zone to stop the play. No one did. For his part, Frost pinned the blame for the goal on himself for allowing Kuznetsov to get past him.
Tortorella was asked why he elected not to challenge the entry for being offside, risking a delay of game penalty for an unsuccessful challenge. The Flyers coach said it was very close but, in his opinion, the entry was on-side.
The 64-second overtime period was lopsided. The Capitals had puck possession for the entire time and the Flyers trio of Kevin Hayes, Tippett and DeAngelo was unable to change for fresh personnel.
Philadelphia went 0-for-4 on the power play including a brief (10-second) five-on-three that did not generate a shot on goal, let alone a scoring chance. The first Flyers' power play generated a chance that went off the post and two shots on goal by DeAngelo with traffic in front. The other three went nowhere. The best scoring chance, actually, was a shorthanded opportunity for Kuznetsov. Washington went 1-for-3 on their power plays.
Sandström stopped 29 of 32 shots in a losing cause but gave the Flyers a chance to win. Kuemper was shaky at times but saved 21 of 23 Philadelphia shots to earn the win.
The Flyers' best shift-in and shift-out line in Wednesday's game was the fourth line combination of Lukas Sedlak centering Kieffer Bellows and Nicolas Deslauriers. Bellows, in fact, had his best game as a Flyer since being claimed off waivers. He kept his feet moving and found shooting lanes multiple times. Bellows also created a power play with a strong move toward the net.
Thanksgiving Day is an off-day for the Flyers. They will host the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Black Friday game at the Wells Fargo Center tomorrow (5:30 p.m. ET) and then head to New York to take on the Islanders on Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. game. Friday's game is on national television (TNT) and Saturday's is on NBC Sports Philadelphia.