Sunday, February 08, 2015
Wayne Simmonds scored the winning goal early in the third period as the Philadelphia Flyers picked up a crucial 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon at Verizon Center.
Mark Streit and Jakub Voracek also had goals for the Flyers, who have won five of their last six games and have registered a point in all (5-0-1) but are still far outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture, now nine points back of Boston, which hosts Montreal later in the evening.
It wasn't all warm and fuzzies, however. Steve Mason started the game in net and made eight saves, but left with 8:42 to play in the second with a lower-body injury after appearing to tweak the right side of his back while stretching during a stoppage in play.
Ray Emery came in cold but managed to stop five shots in relief to pick up the victory.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 33rd goal of the season for the Capitals, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Braden Holtby allowed two goals on 24 shots in the loss.
The score was tied in the third, and the game slowing down into the inevitable chess match for conference points, but Simmonds gave his team a 2-1 lead 3:50 in as he flew down the left wing and snapped a wrister past Holtby for his 19th of the season. Caps defenseman Karl Alzner bit on a fake and was turned completely around, giving Simmonds the space he needed to score low and inside the far post.
Washington had a power play awarded at 7:20, its sixth of the game, when Andrew MacDonald was whistled for tripping as he tried in vain to restrain Ovechkin on the right wing, but was unable to break through.
Late in the contest, with Holtby on the bench for an extra skater, host forward Tom Wilson -- who has a short but explosive history as far as the Orange and Black is concerned -- took a roughing penalty as a result of checking Matt Read from behind, and Voracek was able to score into the empty net in the final minute to seal the win.
As it has been during all three meetings between the teams, the first period was played at a cautious pace and passed without a score, but the Flyers got on the board only 50 seconds into the second.
Mark Streit's knuckling one-timer from the right point somehow dipped through a screen and past Holtby, and though it appeared Brayden Schenn was the only Flyer who could have touched it and was originally credited with the score, the Swiss blueliner was given back his marker at intermission.
The hosts later had 1:20 of a 5-on-3 at their disposal once Read and Michael Del Zotto were sent off for penalties 40 seconds apart. Yet, the maligned Philly penalty kill kept the puck away from Ovechkin and when he had it, shut off shooting lanes. Emery was in net when the Caps did score on the 5-on-4, as Evgeny Kuznetsov trapped all four opposing players on the right side and passed into the left circle for a wide-open Ovechkin marker.
Notes: Ovechkin is tied with the Rangers' Rick Nash for the league-lead in goals ... Philadelphia plays in Montreal on Tuesday ... Washington hits the road for the next four games starting Wednesday in San Jose ... The clubs next meet on Feb. 22 at 12:30 PM in Philly, a Sunday afternoon NBC game ... A total of 14 games since the start of the 2010-11 season between the Flyers and Capitals have been decided by two goals or less ... Following the game, the Flyers announced that Anthony Stolarz was recalled from Lehigh Valley of the AHL.