PHILADELPHIA -- Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ agonizing 2-1 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center:
How it happened: Hours after saying it would be “cool” to score 50 goals this season, Alex Ovechkin rifled No. 44 past Steve Mason 1:28 into the third period to break a scoreless tie and give the Caps a 1-0 lead 1:28 into the third period. A hooking penalty on Marcus Johansson 12:57 into the final period put the Flyers on the power play and Brayden Schenn tied the score when he redirected a Claude Giroux shot past Braden Holtby with 5:28 remaining in the period. After a wild but scoreless overtime, T.J. Oshie was stopped by Mason; Nick Cousins scored five-hole on Braden Holtby; Evgeny Kuznetsov was stopped on a glove save by Mason; Sam Gagner ended it with a snap shot past Holtby.
What it means: The Capitals (54-16-6, 114 points) will need to wait another two days to break the franchise record for wins in a season (55, set by the 2009-10 Caps). The Flyers secured sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings, two points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings and two behind the Islanders. The Flyers have six games left; the Red Wings five.
Holt-beast: Braden Holtby was nearly impenetrable, stopping 33 of 34 shots through 65 minutes. He remains two wins short of Martin Brodeur’s NHL record of 48 set in 2006-07. Holtby is one win away from tying Bernie Parent (1973-74) and Roberto Luongo (2006-07) for second on the all-time list with 47 wins in a single season.
Russian connection: Caps coach Barry Trotz said he wanted to reignite the offensive flames of Alex Ovechkin (2 goals in his previous 12 games) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (0 points in his previous five games) and although the two did not connect at even strength they did on the power play, with Kuznetsov finding Ovechkin in the left circle and Ovechkin cradling, then rifling a shot past Mason’s catching glove. OIvechkin’s goal came 2 seconds after a penalty to Brandon Manning.
Oshie in, Latta out: T.J. Oshie decided after warmups that he was well enough to play and he took a regular shift on a third line with Jason Chimera and Jay Beagle.
Look ahead: The Caps will use Thursday as a travel day. They visit the Colorado Avalanche on Friday and the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
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