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Washington
Capitals
23-46-10-3
Philadelphia
Flyers
40-21-15-6

20 SOG
41 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
WSH
PHI
game recap

Washington Capitals 1, Philadelphia Flyers 5 FINAL

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Washington Capitals 1, Philadelphia Flyers 5 FINAL
Washington Capitals 1, Philadelphia Flyers 5

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Antero Niittymaki made it look easy.

Niittymaki stopped 19 shots in his first career start, and John LeClair scored the go-ahead goal in the Philadelphia Flyers' 5-1 victory over Washington on Wednesday night.

``I felt better than I thought I would in my first NHL game,'' Niittymaki said. ``It was a pretty easy night. I only faced 15 shots or so in the first two periods and they were pretty easy shots.

``The guys played well in front of me, especially against the power play.''

Simon Gagne, Kim Johnsson, Mark Recchi and Keith Primeau also scored to help the Flyers take the top spot in the Eastern Conference and increase their Atlantic Division lead to three points over New Jersey.

Robert Lang scored for the Capitals, who failed in a bid to win three straight road games for the first time since March 2002.

Niittymaki, a 23-year-old Finn, got the start because Robert Esche sprained his left knee in a collision with Gagne on Monday. Esche is expected to be sidelined at least three weeks.

Jeff Hackett, Philadelphia's other experienced goalie, is sidelined indefinitely by vertigo.

Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said that Niittymaki looked excellent, just as he has recently in practice.

``You're hopeful that he can do the same thing in a game,'' Hitchcock said. ``He's technically sound and he did the right things with the puck. He kept it simple and we'll see how he looks tomorrow.''

Hitchcock said that Niittymaki would start in Atlanta on Thursday.

LeClair broke a 1-1 tie at 14:58 of the second period with a brilliant move. Standing in the slot with his back to the goal, LeClair took a pass from Michal Handzus, spun around and deposited a backhander past goalie Olaf Kolzig.

``Olie was unreal in the first period,'' Washington's Mike Grier said. ``He gave us a chance to win the game. He battled and battled. I think we let him down a little bit.''

Gagne scored his 100th career goal to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 14:09 of the first period, flipping in a rebound of his own shot from the slot.

Lang, who leads the Capitals with 26 goals, tied it at 13:32 of the second. Left alone to the side of the net, Lang's shot kicked off Niittymaki's stick through the goalie's leg pads.

``Obviously when it's the goalie's first game, you want to get in the lanes and put as many pucks on the net as possible,'' Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. ``I don't think we passed up on chances, we just didn't get enough of them.''

Johnsson and Recchi added power-play goals in the third period. Recchi's came while the Flyers had a two-man advantage. Primeau's goal at 15:06 of the period was an empty-netter.

Niittymaki has been a backup goalie for the Flyers in 11 games this season. He was 14-7-5 in 29 appearances for the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL.

``He (Niittymaki) was the boss out there tonight,'' Primeau said. ``If he didn't feel comfortable with the play, we told him just to swallow the puck up and stop play.''

scoring summary
1st Period
14:09
PHI
Simon Gagne (11) ASST: Keith Primeau (14), Mattias Timander (2)
1 - 0 PHI
2nd Period
13:32
WSH
Robert Lang (26) ASST: Jeff Halpern (10), Anson Carter (11)
1 - 1 Tie
14:58
PHI
John Leclair (15) ASST: Michal Handzus (25), Mark Recchi (30)
2 - 1 PHI
3rd Period
03:49
PHI
PPG - Kim Johnsson (6) ASST: Mark Recchi (31), John Leclair (20)
3 - 1 PHI
09:38
PHI
PPG - Mark Recchi (19) ASST: Kim Johnsson (18), Tony Amonte (19)
4 - 1 PHI
15:06
PHI
EN - Keith Primeau (6) ASST: Jeremy Roenick (23), Chris Therien (8)
5 - 1 PHI
penalty summary
1st Period
08:40
WSH
Steve Eminger  Holding against  John Leclair
12:54
PHI
Michal Handzus  Cross checking against  Brendan Witt
12:54
WSH
Brendan Witt  Cross checking against  Michal Handzus
14:50
PHI
Jeremy Roenick  Holding against  Steve Eminger
2nd Period
03:19
WSH
Graham Mink  Roughing against  Joni Pitkanen
03:19
PHI
Joni Pitkanen  Holding against  Graham Mink
16:30
WSH
Joel Kwiatkowski  Roughing against  Simon Gagne
19:13
PHI
Radovan Somik  Roughing against  Graham Mink
19:13
WSH
Joel Kwiatkowski  Cross checking against  Radovan Somik
19:13
WSH
Joel Kwiatkowski  Roughing against  Radovan Somik
20:00
PHI
Jeremy Roenick  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Dainius Zubrus
3rd Period
02:15
WSH
Dainius Zubrus  Hooking against  Jeremy Roenick
07:15
PHI
Chris Therien  Interference against  Michael Grier
07:49
WSH
Jeff Halpern  Holding against  Mattias Timander
08:12
WSH
Josef Boumedienne  Holding the stick against  Jeremy Roenick
12:39
PHI
Jeremy Roenick  Tripping against  Darcy Verot
12:39
WSH
Darcy Verot  Slashing against  Jeremy Roenick
13:04
PHI
Sami Kapanen  Hooking against  Josef Boumedienne
16:45
PHI
Kim Johnsson  Slashing against  Darcy Verot
18:02
WSH
Brendan Witt  Hooking against  Sami Kapanen
goalie stats
Olie Kolzig
SA: 40TOI: 59:50
Saves: 36EV: 27 - 29
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 9
SV%: .900SH: 2 - 2
Antero Niittymaki
SA: 20TOI: 60:00
Saves: 19EV: 15 - 16
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: .950SH: 0 - 0