The Capitals jumped out to a five-goal lead and rode that lead to a comfortable 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, Washington's fifth straight win. Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist to come within one point of 1,200 career points. The game was also career win No. 250 for Braden Holtby. He is the second-fastest goalie to reach 250 wins, doing so in 409 games.
Here are five reasons the Caps won.
A good start
Coming into Wednesday’s game, the Caps had given up a goal in the first four minutes in five straight games. As the game began in Philadelphia, however, it was clear Washington was ready to go. They dominated from the opening faceoff and did not look back.
An incredible assist
Alex Ovechkin is used to making highlight plays for scoring, but his best play of the night was an assist he delivered to Tom Wilson for the first goal of the game.
Dmitry Orlov fired a shot from the blue line on goalie Brian Elliott. The shot had some power behind it and the rebound bounced out. Ovechkin was circling the net and continued his path as he backhanded the puck out of traffic. His momentum knocked him to one knee, but he still managed to pass the puck right to the top of the crease for the quick shot by Wilson.
A late review
Brett Connolly very nearly made it 2-0 for the Caps when he fired a shot off the glove of Elliott and off the crossbar and out. At least, that’s what it looked like. Even on the first replay angle showed on the broadcast it looked like the puck hit the crossbar. The NHL’s Situation Room, however, saw something different. From an overhead angle, you could clearly see the puck hit off the goal camera inside the net and bounce out. The Situation Room stopped play to inform the referees and suddenly, the Caps were up 2-0.
A very aggressive penalty kill
Washington got its first power play in the second period. It became very clear very quickly that the Flyers penalty kill was going to be very aggressive. The Caps quickly took advantage. John Carlson managed to keep in a puck at the blue line and chip it up the wall to Nicklas Backstrom. With the puck on the wall on the right side of the offensive zone, all four penalty killers cheated over to that side. That left Ovechkin by himself on the left and if there is one guy you can’t leave alone, it’s him. Backstrom fired the pass from the wall to Ovechkin’s office where he had all day to tee-up his shot. He took aim and delivered an off-speed shot through Elliott’s five-hole to make it 3-0.
Five goals in the first half
Andre Burakovsky ended Elliott’s night less than two minutes after Ovechkin’s goal with a wrister off the post and into the net. Backstrom scored just over a minute after that as both Flyers defensemen got caught puck watching and bit on a wraparound attempt by Jakub Vrana. Instead of trying to stuff the puck, however, Vrana passed it back out to the slot for the trailing Backstrom who roofed the shot past Cam Talbot. That gave Washington a 5-0 lead before the midway point of the game. Philadelphia would go on to score three unanswered goals, but it didn’t matter because the Caps had built too big of a lead for the Flyers to overcome. It made the third period a bit closer than perhaps many Caps fans would have liked, but the result was never really in doubt.
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