Flyers goaltender Steve Mason allowed a goal that may haunt him the rest of his life and Alex Ovechkin was an offensive and physical force as the Capitals rolled to a 4-1 win over the Flyers Saturday night to take a 2-0 series lead in the opening round of their best-of-seven first-round playoff series.
How it happened: Braden Holtby survived a 19-shot barrage by the Flyers in the opening period, which featured John Carlson scoring his second power-play goal of the series. The Caps grabbed a 2-0 lead on the unlikeliest of plays when Jason Chimera chipped an outlet pass from Karl Alzner just outside the center-ice red line and saw it slide more than 100 feet between the pads of Mason. Chimera was checked to his knees by Scott Laughton on the play and didnlt know he had scored until he heard the crowd roar in disbelief. Mason went down on his left knee to allow the puck to slide between his legs and thrust his head back in frustration. Teammate Nick Cousins put his gloved hands over his helmet in astonishment. Ironically, Mason made a split save on Carlson moments before allowing Chimera’s long-distance goal. Ovechkin put an exclamation point on the game when he hammered a perfect power-play pass from Nicklas Backstrom past Mason for his first goal of the series. Backstrom threaded the puck THROUGH the skates of teammate T.J. Oshie and into Ovechkin’s wheelhouse for his second assist of the game. Backstrom finished off the Flyers by scoring with 2:13 remaining in the game.
Don’t celebrate yet: Teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series hold an all-time series record of 298-48 (86.1 percent). The Caps, however, are 2-5 all-time when holding a 2-0 series advantage. That’s a paltry 28.6 percent.
Won: 2010-11 East Qtrs, 1997-98 East Semis
Lost: 2012-13 East Qtrs, 2008-09 East Semis, 2002-03 East Qtrs, 1995-96 East Qtrs, 1991-92 Patrick Div Semis
19 and counting: The 19 shots allowed by the Caps in the opening period represent the most allowed this season in a first period.
I Carly: John Carlson became the first Capitals defenseman to score a power-play goal in consecutive playoff games since Al Iafrate on April 24 and April 28, 1993. He is the fifth defenseman in Capitals postseason history to score two power-play goals in one series (Larry Murphy, Al Iafrate, Sergei Gonchar, Mike Green).
One year later: The Caps are now 3-for-8 on the power play in the series. That’s the same number of power-play goals they scored in 14 playoff games last spring when they went 3-for-28 against the Islanders and Rangers. Conversely, the Flyers are 0-for-7 on the power play in this series.
Hit of the night: Take your pick. Was it Alex Ovechkin sending Brayden Schenn head over heels (helmet over skates) and onto the Flyers bench in the first period? Or was it Mike Richards stepping into Nick Cousins with a shoulder to the chest implosion midway through the third period? Or was it John Carlson shouldering Schenn to the ice in a big collision in the third?
Happy to assist: Marcus Johansson has two assists in each of his first two games of the series and leads the Caps with four points.
Ovi nears Hunter: Ovechkin’s goal was his 37th career playoff goal and his 71st playoff point. He’s now one point away from tying Dale Hunter for first on the Caps all-time playoff points list.
What’s next: The Capitals are set to practice at 11:30 on Sunday, then head to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 of the series on Monday and Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center.
MORE CAPITALS: Ovi's 2nd period goal gives Caps 3-1 lead