Despite being up 4-1 over the Washington Capitals in the third period today, the Philadelphia Flyers managed to fumble away a sure victory, as they dropped a 5-4 shootout decision on the road. Alex Ovechkin had a two-goal game, including the game-tying goal with 47.9 seconds left, while both Eric Fehr and Nicklas Backstrom potted tallies in the shootout to give the Caps the decision. Backstrom also had a two-assist contest, while Joel Ward also had two helpers in the win. Philipp Grubauer stopped 24 of 28 shots against for the win.
As for the visitors, Michael Raffl had three assists, while Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist. Steve Mason allowed four goals against on 33 shots.
The Caps’ comeback started with a Mike Green shot from the point that made its way through traffic and beat Mason’s glove. The d-man cut the lead to two with 8:40 left in regulation. Then came Dmitri Orlov’s first of the season, as his shot from the blue line beat Mason due to a perfect screen from Nicklas Grossmann in front of the net. The game was tied when Mason had trouble handling the puck behind his cage and led to him being out of position on a shot from Ovechkin in the game’s final minute.
It’s hard to have seen this outcome coming in the third period, but it can’t be that surprising when you’re talking about one of the most inconsistent teams in the league. When Jakub Voracek beat Grubauer with 16:28 left in regulation to make it a three-goal game, it should have been a done deal for the Flyers. However, an offensive surge from the Capitals combined with sloppy play from Philly in their own zone allowed Washington to push the game to overtime, and eventually a shootout.
The Flyers were embarrassed on Wednesday in 7-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks before rebounding the next day with a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Then, when it looked like they were going to walk to a multi-goal lead over the Caps on the road, they choke and return to the Wells Fargo Center with just a point from today’s game. You can’t expect the Flyers to have an easy win or to hold on to a lead now, just like you can’t fully count them out of any game.
The game started with a power-play goal from Ovechkin, as he attempted to throw the puck across the ice and crease to Marcus Johansson, but had his pass broken up by Kimmo Timonen. Fortunately for the Caps, Timonen altered the disc past Mason to make it 1-0 with 8:43 left in the first frame.
Giroux tied the game in the period’s final minute, as Raffl made a tremendous pass from below the goal line to Grubauer’s left to set up Giroux for his seventh of the season with 54 ticks left in the opening period.
The second period’s only goal came from Mark Streit of all people, as he jumped on a bad neutral zone pass by the Caps and started a rush the other way. After Streit intercepted the pass, the puck drifted to Raffl at Washington’s blue line, who feathered a pass past a Caps’ defender back to Streit wide open in the slot. The former New York Islander placed on just inside the far post to beat Grubauer and give the visitors their first lead of the game with 13:23 left in the middle period.
Philly made it 4-1 early in the third period, as Sean Couturier managed to bank in a shot off of Grubauer from the corner below the goal line for his sixth of the year, while Voracek scored just 1:14 after Couturier’s strike.
The Orange and Black head home to host the Capitals on Tuesday to conclude the clubs home-and-home.
Notes: The Flyers have allowed four goals against or more in four of their last five games and have allowed three goals against or more in five of their last six games…Giroux has a two-game goal streak, a two-game multi-point streak, and a three-game point streak…Raffl has six points (two goals and four assists) in the last four games…Streit’s goal was his 300th NHL point…The Flyers are 1-3 in shootouts this season and have lost two straight…Philadelphia is 0-2-2 in their last four road games…Philly drops to 11-9-3 against the Eastern Conference and to 5-4-2 against the Metropolitan Division…The Flyers dropped to 14-15-4. They were 13-17-3 after 33 games last season.