Capitals fourth line saves the day in win over Flyers


With just under three minutes left to play and the Capitals trailing by a goal, they turned to their fourth line to tie the game up. But they got more than that.

The Capitals tied the game with 2:57 left to play when Garnet Hathaway deflected a John Carlson shot just under a minute after the Phladelphia Flyers took the lead for themselves. Then one minute and 45 seconds later, lightning struck twice. 

Carl Hagelin forced a turnover in the Flyers’ own end and found a wide-open Hathaway cutting to the net. Hathaway buried his second goal in 105 seconds as the Capitals took a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. A Carlson empty-net goal made the final score 5-3, as Washington escaped Philadelphia with a win. 

In the final 2:57, the Capitals’ fourth line (Hathaway, Hagelin and Nic Dowd) combined for two goals and five total points. And of the Capitals’ five goals, the fourth line had a hand in four of them — the lone exception being Joe Snively’s power play goal in the second period. 

In the first period, Dowd and Hathaway assisted on Michal Kempny’s goal to put the Capitals up 1-0. 

It capped a banner night for the fourth line, as they were consistently the better line at five-on-five, and outshot their opponents despite taking just three of their 14 faceoffs in the offensive zone, per Natural Stat Trick. 

It was the reason why coach Peter Laviolette turned to the fourth line twice in the final minutes, as not only have they proven they can tilt the ice, but they can score too. Hathaway’s two goals mean he’s scored 10 on the season which puts him in a tie for fifth place with Carlson. 


Their depth scoring has been a major point of conversation, especially as the team is down T.J. Oshie and Anthony Mantha due to injuries. With the trade deadline coming on March 21, the Capitals are rumored to be in the market for scoring depth on the roster. 

But no matter who the Capitals bring in for a playoff push, the fourth line has proven, as it did against the Flyers, they’ve got some goal-scoring touch too.