WASHINGTON -- The Capitals came ready to play on Wednesday, but the Philadelphia Flyers were ready to finish. A strong start for Washington was derailed by too many penalties in the second period and the Flyers took advantage in a 5-2 win. The win is the seventh straight for Philadelphia and pulls the Flyers to within one point of the Caps for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Here is how Washington lost.
The power play
Washington drew three penalties in a dominant opening frame, but walked away with only a 1-0 lead as they failed to score on any of their power plays. For the game, Washington had five opportunities and failed to score on any of them.
Too many penalties in the 2nd
Washington got off to a great start and dominated the first period. It was the best period of hockey from this team in quite some time with the Caps drawing three penalties and taking a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
That all went away in the second period as the team was completely derailed by penalties.
Evgeny Kuznetsov was called for slashing 77 seconds into the period. Less than 30 seconds after Washington killed that penalty, it was given a very questionable too-many-men penalty. Garnet Hathaway was called for high-sticking to give Philadelphia 12 seconds of a two-man advantage. While the Flyers would not score on the 5-on-3, they finally beat Braden Holtby during the Hathaway penalty kill to get on the board, and the momentum completely shifted.
Brenden Dillon made it four penalties in the period with a hit on Scott Laughton well after the whistle, and the Flyers would score just six seconds after that penalty expired.
Konecny would not be denied
Travis Konecny thought he had the Flyers on the board on the power play when he shot the puck at an open net with Holtby pushed behind the goal line, and into his the goal, because of Tom Wilson's push on Sean Couturier. The puck went underneath Holtby and...disappeared. That's not really an exaggeration. As soon as the puck reached Holtby, it disappeared completely from view and there was no camera angle that could find it. Because of that, it was called no goal. Just seconds later, however, Konecny planted himself next to Holtby, the rebound came to him and he left no doubt about this one, making it 1-1 with the power-play goal.
A beautiful kick
You have to tip your hat to Derek Grant on this one. Nicolas Aube-Kubel pushed a backhand pass to the front of the net and Grant deftly kicked it off the back of his ankle to Kevin Hayes, who was ready for the slam dunk at the back post.
A quick counter
The Caps' second line got caught deep in the offensive zone as a centering pass from Jakub Vrana was picked off in front sparking the counter-attack from Philadelphia. The turnover saw the Caps' divided in half as all five Flyers moved up on Jonas Siegenthaler and Radko Gudas with all three forwards caught trailing.
Philadelphia drew the defense to one side, with Grant on the wall. His pass to Michael Raffl took Siegenthaler out of the play. Gudas dove to cut off the passing lane, but Raffl curled around him and passed back to the trailing Tyler Pitlick who was wide-open because the backcheck was nowhere close to him. Pitlick scored to make it 3-1.
Garnet Hathaway scored late in the second to pull within one and the crowd was pumped by both that goal and Wilson's second fight of the game. Whatever momentum the team hoped to have coming into the third period was extinguished by Ivan Provorov's goal to make it 4-2.
Jakub Voracek carried the puck into the offensive zone, pulled up and set up Provorov right when he entered the offensive zone. The backcheck from Alex Ovechkin was late and Provorov had plenty of time to place his shot and beat Holtby glove-side.
Scott Laughton would add an insurance tally later in the third to finish off the 5-2 win.
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