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Caps survive slugfest with Flyers to extend home win streak

Caps survive slugfest with Flyers to extend home win streak

Final score: Washington Capitals 2, Philadelphia Flyers 1

How it happened: Both teams battled to a scoreless tie through 40 minutes. The Flyers looked like they had taken control with a goal from Sean Couturier less than two minutes into the final period, but Dmitry Orlov answered right back just 1:21 later to tie it at 1. A Michael Del Zotto penalty in overtime proved to be Philadelphia's breaking point as Nicklas Backstrom netted the game-winner.

What it means: The Caps extended their franchise record home win streak to 15 games and their home point streak to 17. They have not lost at Verizon Center in 2017. Washington finished the regular season series against the Flyers with a 3-0-1 record.

Goals

Flyers goal: Sean Couturier from matt read and nick cousins at 1:19 in the third period. A Caps turnover in the offensive zone turned into a rush the other way for the Flyers with Couturier deflecting finishing off a tic-tac-toe play with a deflection to the top shelf. Caps 0, Flyers 1

Caps goal: Dmitry Orlov from Matt Niskanen at 2:40 in the third period. Niskanen forced a turnover in the neutral zone and Orlov pounced, carrying the puck past the blue line and unleashing a monster slap shot to beat Mason. Caps 1, Flyers 1

Caps goal: Nicklas Backstrom (power play) from Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Ovechkin at 3:25 in overtime. Caps 2, Flyers 1

3 Stars

1. Tom Wilson: These are the kind of games Wilson was made for. Against a team full of irritants, Wilson doled out about as much as the Flyers gave. He was laying out hits (nine for the game) and drew the crowd to its feet after blocking a slap shot off his backside. He also had some great offensive opportunities, sliding the puck through the legs of Steve Mason and wide of the net at one point in the second period.

2. Braden Holtby: The Flyers are a team that likes getting traffic in front of the net. Holtby had to battle a lot of traffic to make his 30 saves on Saturday, but it didn’t seem to affect him at all. Holtby looked smooth in net despite all the pressure from the Flyers.

3. Steve Mason: Mason's career has been plagued by inconsistency, but when he's on, he's on. On Saturday, he was on saving 22 of the 24 shots he saved including a phenomenal save on T.J. Oshie in overtime that hit off his mask.

Look ahead: The Caps finish their three-game home stand on Monday as they host the Dallas Stars. Then it’s off to the west coast for the California road trip where the Caps will visit the Sharks, Kings and Ducks starting on Thursday in San Jose.

Tell us what you think:  Finding goals has not been a problem for Washington on their home win streak. Wins of 5-0, 6-0 were frequent. The last two games at Verizon Center, however, the Caps were held scoreless through the first two periods of the game and managed only three goals combined. Are you worried about the offense?

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JJ vs. the fans bold predictions: A big night for Tom Wilson?

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USA TODAY Sports

JJ vs. the fans bold predictions: A big night for Tom Wilson?

In the very first edition of JJ vs. the fans bold predictions, no one got a single prediction right. Well, there’s nowhere to go but up!

The Caps hit the road on Friday to take on the Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Washington Plus). Let’s check out our predictions.

RELATED: MADISON BOWEY IS ALREADY LOOKING MUCH IMPROVED

Fan predictions:

For those who don't know, a Gordie Howe hat trick is a goal, an assist and a fight all in one game. Tom Wilson gets the promotion to the top line tonight and Wade is expecting big things. I am not so bullish on it. I think adjusting to a new line and a new side, Wilson has moved from right wing to left, will take Wilson some time.

The Caps face former defenseman Mike Green and Garrett thinks he is going to get one past Braden Holtby. This is pretty bold considering Green has yet to record a single point in five games against his former squad.

The Capitals’ defense has had its problems of late and it has certainly dragged down the penalty kill. Remember how hot the penalty kill was to start the season? Now the Caps rank 19th in the league at 78.6-percent. Still, two power play goals is a lot considering Detroit ranks 24th in the NHL with a success rate of only 14.8-percent.

MORE CAPITALS: HOW TO WATCH CAPS-RED WINGS

JJ’s predictions:

The Caps will allow more than two goals

Washington’s defense is not as bad as they looked against Philadelphia, but it isn't as good as they looked against Toronto either. One thing that helped against the Maple Leafs was that the game was at home. Barry Trotz could get the favorable matchups for his rookie defensemen as his team had the second change. That won’t be true on Friday in Detroit. The defense will struggle as a result.

John Carlson will play more than he did against Toronto

See above. Carlson logged a hefty 27:33 on Tuesday and that was with the Caps getting the second change. The Caps will rely even more on him on the road.

Washington will get at least two goals form players not named Ovechkin, Oshie and Backstrom

Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom have 17 of the Caps’ 22 goals this season. Perhaps the big three will have another big night, but eventually the team will need someone else to step up and score. Whether because the team emphasizes it or through just dumb luck, the Caps are going to record a few points from a few of their other players on Friday.

Want to see your tweet among the fan predictions for the next game? Tweet your prediction to @JJReganNBCS every game day! Remember, we don’t just want to know who will win or the score, we want to see specifics. Be bold!

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In just one week, Madison Bowey already looks like a much improved player

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In just one week, Madison Bowey already looks like a much improved player

Madison Bowey’s second game went a lot better than his first and it’s not just because the Caps allowed only two goals as opposed to eight.

Despite being thrust into a significant role in his first taste of NHL experience, Bowey seemed to settle in a bit in his second contest even as it came against the NHL’s best offense in the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Just everything in the first game felt like it happened so quick, I think,” Bowey said Thursday after the team’s practice. “It was obviously nice to come back in Washington and play in the home in front of the home crowd, get a practice in on Monday before the game Tuesday with the team. Just all the little factors that went into it definitely helped and I think it definitely felt a lot smoother out there on the ice.”

RELATED: BURAKOVSKY DEMOTED TO THIRD LINE

Playing at home definitely has its benefits for the coaching staff as they try to protect the rookie defensemen. Home teams get the chance to change after the visiting team allowing the coaches to pick the matchups they want for Bowey.

More favorable matchups certainly helped him, but Bowey also seemed to play with more confidence and a level of calm that was not there against Philadelphia. For Bowey, the difference was having time to settle in and practice with the team.

“Obviously this team is one of the veteran teams in the league so to be able to practice against top players in the league, it goes a long way,” Bowey said.

RELATED: WHY THE CAPS SHOULD NOT TRADE PROSPECT IIYA SAMSONOV

Bowey was called up for a Saturday game in Philadelphia after Matt Niskanen suffered a hand injury Friday in New Jersey. That means he quickly had to join the team and jump into the lineup for his first ever NHL game without any practice with the Caps at all.

Bowey now has two practices and two games under his belt and even a team-building day at FBI training. The effect that has had on his game was noticeable on Tuesday. It should be even more clear on Friday as the team travels to face the Detroit Red Wings.

“I feel myself improving every day,” Bowey said. “It forces you to really work hard and be on your top every day you come to the rink so for me, just having those two practices already have been huge. I feel the development's getting a lot better early.”