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Wrapup: Capitals 5 - Flyers 2

November 12, 2015, 11:01 PM ET [633 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT

It was all about finish and not about the start as the Philadelphia Flyers fell for the eighth time in their last nine games, suffering a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.

The Flyers held short-lived 1-0 and 2-1 leads over the opening 30 minutes of the game but missed out on opportunities to grab firmer control of the game. During six-plus minutes of first period power play time in which the team generated all of one shot on goal.

As the game progressed, the team was unable to convert any of three two-on-one rushes -- the first of which could have put the Flyers in solid control and the latter two which could have cut a third-period deficit to one goal.

“Hockey is a collective sport, you win together, and you lose together. We didn’t play great defense and we didn’t score enough goals," said Jakub Voracek.

In the meantime, the Flyers hung their goaltender out to dry over and over again both at even strength and on the penalty kill. The score could easily have wound up anywhere from 7-2 to 10-2. While Washington did not put an outrageous quantity of shots (30 overall) on the net, they had very high quality chances from point-blank areas or through heavy traffic.

"We came out and we had a good start, we competed hard through the night but you make some mistakes against that team and it ends up in the back of your net and they took advantage of that," said Hakstol.

The Capitals got a pair of power play goals from Jason Chimera and even-strength goals from T.J. Oshie, Justin Williams and Nicklas Bäckström. Evgeny Kuznetsov produced two primary assists that left the Flyers hopelessly out of position. Braden Holtby stopped 18 of 20 shots, but the Flyers were held to just 13 shots until the game was completely out of reach.

Scott Laughton and Claude Giroux (power play) scored early first-period and early second-period goals to briefly give the Flyers leads but the game steadily slipped away thereafter. Ryan White and Giroux had a 2-on-1 rush in the second period that went by the wayside. In the third period, Giroux and Voracek had a pair of 2-on-1s; only the latter of which resulted in a shot on goal.

Above all, Washington's 2-for-3 showing on the power play --- very nearly 3-for-3 but for a reversed Alexander Ovechkin goal on an offside play at the blueline after Flyers assistant coach Joey Mullen alerted head coach Dave Hakstol to the offside, leading to a successful challenge of the goal -- turned the tide permanently after the Flyers (1-for-4) did nothing with their first period power plays until scoring during carryover time on their fourth.

“I don’t think we’re shooting the puck enough. I think we’re turning down too many opportunities, not necessarily on grade A opportunities but entering the zone getting pucks to the net that’s something that we’ve got to do a better job of and something were talking about," said Hakstol.

"I don’t think we throw enough pucks to the net even from outside with people going to the net at this point in time and some of that’s due to guys who want to make plays. Their trying to help and trying to do things but I think you have to still go back to basics and simplify a little more.”

Flyers goaltender Steve Mason (27 saves on 32 shots) finished the night with ugly statistics but actually had no prayer of stopping any of the Washington goals. Four were point-blank chances on scrambled coverages and/or lost battles. One was a double-deflection. When Mason had any a reasonable chance to make a save on this night, he made it.

“We knew they could make plays and offensively they could score a lot goals but we've got to be better defensively in front of Mase,"said Giroux.

Laughton scored his third goal of the seasonon a right circle shot high to the short side, after the puck went around the boards and the Caps couldn't handle it. The puck was claimed by Chris VandeVelde who got the puck to Laughton for the lone assist at 3:34. The goal was scored on Philly's first shot of the game.

Ryan White leveled Jason Chimera with a clean body check in the Washington zone at 7:17. Credited hits were 4-4 at this points.

Shots were 9-3 Caps through 10:22 when Mason cleanly stopped a 33-foot snap shot by Andre Burakovsky. He held on for a stoppage and a TV timeout.

At 10:35, the Caps tied the game at 1-1 on a point-blank goal by T.J. Oshie. Michael Del Zotto chased Evgeny Kuznetsov behind the net and Oshie got wide open to receive a nifty pass and stash the puck home. Mason had no chance on Oshie's fifth goal of the season.

Burakovsky went off for kneeing Michael Raffl in the neutral zone at 11:02. No shots for the Flyers on the ensuing power play.

The Flyers went right back to the power play at 6:04 after a big scrum on the boards. Justin Williams was whistled for slashing Del Zotto. With eight seconds left in the power play, Matt Niskanen flipped the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty. The Flyers did not get a shot during either the brief 5-on-3 (Giroux lost an offensive zone faceoff and the Caps cleared) or the 1;52 of 5-on-4 time.

Tom Wllson took a needless offensive zone charging penalty at 19:46. Shots in the period were 11-4 in Washington's favor.

The Flyers started the second period with 1:47 of carryover time on their fourth power play of the game. Finally at 1:07, Giroux rifled a left circle shot through a Simmonds screen and into the long side of the net for his fifth goal of the year. Simmonds and Streit got the assists.

Holtby made a nice glove save on Giroux from about 25 feet with Voracek bearing down on the net at the 3:21 mark. At 6:06, Burakovsky used Del Zotto as a screen and forced Mason to make a tough save. Mason came up with it cleanly with no rebound.

The Capitals went on their first power play at 9:09 on a cross-checking penalty on Michael Raffl.
Washington knotted the game at 2-2 as a seeing-pass by Kuznetsov was chipped over Radko Gudas to Jason Chimera. Once the puck got through, Mason was helpless as Chimera ripped a shot home from the lower slot. Time of the goal was 9:54. Kuznetsov and Williams got the assists on Chimera's fourth goal of the season.

The Caps quickly took a 3-2 lead at 10:39 as Willams was the first to a loose puck in front of the net, moved to a vacant side and stashed it home before Mason could locate the puck and get ovr the other side. Jay Beagle and Chimera got the assists.

Shortly after the go-ahead goal, Gudas (who is usually the one delivering the hits), got cleanly steamrolled by Ovechkin. With 7:02 left in the period, White had a spirited fight with Michael Latta.

Moments after Streit fell down in the offensive zone, Sean Couturier was called for tripping at 15:44. The Caps made it a 4-2 lead at as Chimera deflected a Niskanen shot (a double-deflection that went off Giroux originally) past Mason at 17:27. Wilson got the secondary assist on Chimera's second goal of the game and fifth of the year.

At 18: 42, Raffl went off for hooking. With 38.1 seconds left in the period, Ovechkin hammered a left circle one-timer past Mason. The Flyers challenged the play for an offside at the blueline as Chimera carried into the offensive zone with a teammate trying in vain to hold the blueline with his skate. The goal call was reversed and taken off the board. The Flyers barely hung on for the rest of the period.

Shots were 12-7 in the Caps' favor in the second period (23-11 Caps through two periods).

Washington took 43 seconds of carryover power play time into the third period. The Flyers survived. Shortly after the penalty expired, Giroux and Jakub Voracek had a 2-on-1 rush and the pass narrowly missed Voracek.

Mason made several tough saves as the Caps continued to push the attack. Shots were 5-0 Caps with 14:15 left on the clock (28-11 overall). The Flyers finally got their first shot on another 2-on-1 with Voracek (carrying up the right wing) and Giroux. Voracek elected to shoot from the right circle and Holtby made the stop with 12:49 left in the third period.

The Capitals scored another point-blank range goal to make it 5-2, as Bäckström cruised into the right circle, took an uncontested pass from Marcus Johansson and scored from the lower circle before Mason had a chance to get over. Wilson got the secondary assist at 13:51 on Bäckström's sixth goal of the season.

Third period shots were 9-8 in the Caps' favor; 32-20 for the game in Washington's favor.
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