Gritty Flyers score 5-1 win over listless Caps

Marc-Andre Bourdon, Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot  tallied in  the second period as Philadelphia extended its season-high win streak to six with a 5-1 decision over Washington at Verizon Center.

Scott  Hartnell  and Jakub Voracek also  scored for the Flyers, who have taken
eight of their last nine contests. Matt Carle and James van Riemsdyk added two
assists each.

Beneficiary of a whopping 9 1/2 hours of sleep last night, Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 31-of-32 shots, improving to 14-5-2 on the year.

Playing without the NHL’s leading scorer in Claude Giroux — revealed earlier Tuesday to be out indefinitely with a concussion suffered in Saturday’s win over Tampa Bay — as well as captain Chris Pronger, Philadelphia nonetheless maintained the top spot in the Eastern Conference with 41 points.

“We’ve covered for Chris while he’s been out of the lineup and now we have to chip in up front and get some big performances and get guys to take care of some of the work that Claude did and collectively we can do that. Other teams do it and we’re going to have to do it,” Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said prior to the game.

Jaromir Jagr, who played in Washington right before the franchise turned itself inside out, had the quote of the night.

Despite going without a point, his maturity and leadership qualities shone through: “I don’t really care as long as we win. I’m not 22 anymore.”

Jeff  Halpern lit  the lamp for the  Capitals, who had won three of their last
four coming in.

Tomas  Vokoun  took the loss, pulled  prior to the third period after allowing
four goals on 21 shots. Michal Neuvirth finished up with 11 saves.

“It was a terrible performance,” Vokoun admitted. “Certainly not pleasant and it’s unfortunate in a game like that. There’s really not much to say.”

It was a two-goal margin for the visitors at 7:23 of the second period as a left-point shot from Bourdon redirected off the stick of a Caps defender in front and hit the net inside the far post.

The score was the first career marker for the 22-year-old rookie.

Simmonds tipped in an Andrej Meszaros point drive with 5:41 remaining in the period for a 3-0 contest, then the Flyers took a 4-0 lead on a telling sequence.

Philly defenseman Braydon Coburn stripped Alex Ovechkin in the neutral zone, then James van Riemsdyk shuttled the loose puck up the right wing. Talbot moved in and his wrister was mishandled by Vokoun and hit the net with 2:27 remaining.

Neuvirth was officially welcomed to the game at 5:26 of the third as Matt Carle’s point shot was tipped home in front by Voracek.

Washington finally hit the scoreboard with 6:01 to play as a Dennis Wideman rebound was chipped over a fallen Bryzgalov by Halpern, but that was all the home team had to offer.

“We’re trying to build and we’re trying to climb up the standings,” Halpern said. “Regardless of what the last two games were, it’s an ugly game.”

The Flyers had a potential opening goal — where the puck was accidentally redirected in off the glove of Wideman and through Vokoun at 6:25 of the first period — waved off due to a cross-checking penalty to van Riemsdyk since he was the one who knocked down Wideman.

Philly survived that Washington power play and then another before taking a 1-0 lead on the first of many soft goals Vokoun allowed.

Hartnell’s shot through a Wideman screen was misplayed by Washington’s goaltender, who let a partially-deflected shot slip between his pads at 16:16.

Notes: Philadelphia improved to 11-3-1 on the road with its fourth straight decision away from the Wells Fargo Center. The 11 wins in 15 road tilts set a franchise record per Elias Sports Bureau…Hartnell picked up his 200th NHL tally and extended his goal streak to six straight games. That’s the longest run for any Flyer since Jeff Carter scored in six straight from February 8-March 3, 2010..Before his injury, Giroux played in 212 consecutive contests over parts of four seasons…Ovechkin totaled 37 points in 23 previous games against Philly, but was held without a point and was a minus-two…The Flyers have won two in a row in America’s capital after dropping three straight…Washington fell to 3-4 under Dale Hunter.