|Record||Goaltender||GAA / SV%|
|Washington Capitals||6-3-3||Vitek Vanecek||3.17 / .903|
|Philadelphia Flyers||8-3-2||Brian Elliott||2.19 / .929|
The Washington Capitals are again looking to end a losing streak, and to stifle Philadelphia’s aggressive offense. This time its a three-game, season-high winless streak the Caps are hoping to halt. Washington has now lost five consecutive games against the Flyers. It will also be the first time the Capitals don their Reverse Retro uniforms.
On Super Bowl Sunday, the Capitals were taken down by the Flyers by a score of 7-4. TJ Oshie and Jakub Vrana did not dress for Washington, but Lars Eller returned to the lineup after missing four games. Philippe Maillet made his NHL debut and was the 4th player this season to do so. Sean Couturier took to the ice for Philadelphia for the first time since January 15th.
Despite Philadelphia being one of the top faceoff teams in the league, Washington won 9 of 16 faceoffs in the first period (56.3%). Nick Jensen, who had been a healthy scratch before Justin Schultz was hurt, was oddly really good to start. At the 10:48 mark of the first, the Flyers were called for too-many-men, and so the Capitals received their first power play of the afternoon. Not even 30 seconds into the man-advantage, Alex Ovechkin from his office, beat Carter Hart to make it 1-0 with his 4th of the season. Hart would be the 144th different goaltender Ovechkin has scored on in the NHL.
Then, just over five minutes later with less than four minutes left in the period, a slick curl-and-drag pass from Ovi to Nicklas Backtrom tipped to Tom Wilson ended up in the net to give Washington a 2-0 lead.
Unfortunately, just prior to the expiration of the first, Scott Laughton got his team on the board to cut the Caps’ lead in half. The 2nd period saw a combined five goals, including Laughton’s second of the afternoon (to tie 2-2), and another Alex Ovechkin goal to make it 3-2.
Robert Hagg, in a game of back and forth chances, scored on just the Flyers’ 12th shot of the game to make it 3-3. Then, Trevor van Riemsdyk’s brother James scored his 7th of the season to give the Flyer’s a one-goal 4-3 lead. Vitek Vanecek was then relieved of his duties, and Craig Anderson made his first appearance this season between the pipes.
With 57 seconds remaining in the middle frame, Nicklas Backstrom re-tied the game with a slip-through, spin-o-rama backhand to score his 6th goal in 12 games.
Unfortunately, just 31 seconds into the final frame, Sean Couturier scored to give the Flyers back their lead, this time, 5-4. Zdeno Chara was then called for high-sticking and assessed a double minor, so the Flyers played with the man-advantage for four minutes. Though the Caps trailed by one, they killed off the penalty. With just two minutes left in the game, Laughton would score his 3rd of the game to tally his first career hat-trick. Washington would elect to pull Anderson for the extra-attacker, but Couturier potted an empty-net goal to extend their lead to three goals (7-4).
Prior to being pulled, Vitek Vanecek allowed four goals on 14 shots (.714 SV%). Anderson allowed two goals on eight shots (.750 SV%), and the loss was his to mark.
Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov practiced with the team on Monday morning (COVID protocol), as did Justin Schultz donning a full face shield (facial trauma).
The Washington Capitals re-assigned goaltender Pheonix Copley and defensemen Martin Fehervary from the Hershey Bears to the taxi squad, referencing the need to cut down on goals against. Philippe Maillet was also re-assigned to the taxi squad. We can expect to see some fairly drastic changes to the lineup come Tuesday evening.
- On Sunday, the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Wilson line put up a combined 11 points (4G, 7A).
- Washington’s current three-game winless streak is their longest of the season to date.
- The Caps killed off all four Flyers power plays, but also failed to score on their single opportunity with the man-advantage.
- Vanecek and Anderson put up a combined .739 save percentage after allowing six goals on 23 shots.
- In 19 career starts versus the Caps, Elliott is 10-7-0, and got the win in both matches last season (2-0-0, .926 save percentage, 2.00 GAA).
NBCSN, ESPN+, NBC Sports Washington, and NBC Sports will have coverage of Capitals vs Flyers, from Capital One Arena in Washington, DC, with puck drop coming shortly after 6:00pm.
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