Home is exactly what the Flyers needed.
In their return to the Wells Fargo Center following a discouraging 1-4-1 road trip, the Flyers knocked off the NHL-leading Capitals with a 3-2 win Wednesday night.
The Flyers (23-15-6) got a big-time victory and needed it for their psyche more than anything else. The Flyers are 14-2-4 with a plus-36 goal differential at home.
In 2018-19, the Flyers were throttled by the Capitals, losing all four meetings by a combined score of 18-9. In 2019-20, they've taken three of four possible points from Washington.
The Capitals (30-10-5) had won the last five meetings with the Flyers and came in with more road victories (17) than any NHL team had at home.
• The Flyers were ticked off with the officiating late in the second period of a 2-2 game.
Sean Couturier appeared to take a high stick from Tom Wilson but the Flyers did not receive a whistle. Seconds later, a frustrated Couturier was called for slashing to put the Capitals on the power play.
The Flyers took their anger out on the penalty kill as Kevin Hayes broke free for the decisive go-ahead shorthanded goal 26 seconds later (see highlights).
Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Flyers not happy at all with officiating.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 9, 2020
Then Kevin Hayes scores go-ahead shorthanded goal. pic.twitter.com/T328TOuosa
HAYES IS SOARIN' AND FLYIN'.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 9, 2020
His shorthanded, breakaway goal puts the Flyers on top! pic.twitter.com/oBzut9mSj9
• Speaking of the Flyers' penalty kill, it was excellent against Washington's vaunted power play. The Capitals have had the NHL's top power play percentage since 2000 but went 0 for 5 against the Flyers.
Even more impressively, the Flyers pulled it off with Couturier going to the box twice. Philippe Myers also committed a pair of penalties.
Hayes, Scott Laughton, Matt Niskanen, Ivan Provorov and company were active, not letting Washington get organized too often, which is when it's so dangerous. The Flyers built momentum off their penalty kill and it was the difference.
• Niskanen and Provorov both made clutch third-period plays in the defensive zone to break up scoring chances.
• The Capitals can carve up coverages better than anyone in the NHL.
They broke the Flyers down twice in the first period.
On the first goal, Alex Ovechkin muscled Travis Sanheim into a turnover and Washington capitalized.
On the second goal, Carter Hart allowed a juicy rebound and the Capitals made the Flyers pay.
Hart settled in, though, and was sharp over the final 40 minutes with 26 total saves, many of which were timely.
Big confidence boost for Hart following the road trip in which he allowed 15 goals in four appearances.
The 21-year-old improved to 12-1-2 with 23 goals allowed at home this season.
• Travis Konecny and Robert Hagg put the Flyers on the board in the first period.
Couturier, always on his toes defensively, stripped the puck to create Konecny's goal, while Hagg tied the game at 2-2 with 42 seconds left in the frame on his first marker of the season.
Alexa, play All Star by Smash Mouth 🌟 pic.twitter.com/fKMHqrnSTO— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 9, 2020
💥💥 HAGG 💥💥— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) January 9, 2020
And a big smile at the end! pic.twitter.com/dJpLw2mrFC
• Since the beginning of December, Joel Farabee had played only 3:58 on the power play.
He was back on the man advantage Wednesday, a good opportunity to spark the 19-year-old offensively. He has two points (both assists) in his last 13 games.
• Shayne Gostisbehere was out with a knee injury and here's what that could mean for the Flyers' defense (see story).
• The Flyers hosted Pride Night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Robert Hagg ready for Pride Night.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) January 8, 2020
(📷 by Flyers PR guru Zack Hill) pic.twitter.com/2e2F3ocly0
Love. Is. Love. pic.twitter.com/pNTVYFfYBW— Gritty (@GrittyNHL) January 9, 2020
• The Flyers are off Thursday and practice Friday at 11:30 a.m. in Voorhees, New Jersey, before welcoming the Lightning Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).
Tampa Bay has won eight straight and plays Thursday before visiting the Wells Fargo Center.
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