Just like he did Thursday night, Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette didn't like what he saw from his team and used his lone timeout. Just like Thursday night, it worked again.
Eric Wellwood scored less than a minute after Laviolette called a timeout to give his players an earful, and Ilya Bryzgalov made 34 saves, leading the Flyers to a 1-0 victory against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Sunday night.
Bryzgalov earned his third shutout of the season, and the 26th of his career, even though the Flyers were missing two defensemen who sat out with injuries: Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros.
"I think we played well," Bryzgalov said. "I think it was an outstanding team effort. Guys sacrificed themselves blocking shots, battling in front of the net and along the boards. They did everything what the coach asked and whatever we need for the win."
In Philadelphia's previous outing, at home Thursday, it trailed the New York Islanders 1-0 after only 95 seconds, prompting Laviolette to call time and rip into his players. The Flyers came away with a 6-3 victory.
"We were watching a little bit too much," Laviolette said. "It was more just to get 'em back on track then anything else. I thought they responded really well after that -- not just the goal, but the rest of the period. We got back in it and started generating some offense and some chances and got going. We were just a little bit sluggish for the first 5-7 minutes."
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, a two-time League MVP, played fewer minutes than most of Washington's other forwards and was held without a goal for the seventh time in his last 10 games. The Caps have lost two games in a row -- both at home, both shutouts -- following a three-game winning streak.
"I definitely was matching lines," Caps coach Dale Hunter said when asked why Ovechkin almost went 8 minutes without a shift in the second period. "I didn't want him against (Jaromir) Jagr and Jagr's line. He turned the puck over on the goal. That's what caused the only goal of the game.
"It was not a benching. I was matching lines. He played a lot in the third. He had his chances and the goalie stood tall."
Buoyed by a raucous group of Flyers fans in the stands, Philadelphia moved within two points of the Pittsburgh Penguins for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Washington, meanwhile, remained stuck in ninth in the East, one spot out of the playoff picture.
About 5 1/2 minutes into the game, Capitals forward Troy Brouwer decked Erik Gustafsson along the boards, then fought Scott Hartnell. Both Brouwer and Hartnell were sent to the penalty box. A few minutes later, there was a near-skirmish right in front of Bryzgalov, with a half-dozen players pushing and shoving and yammering before the officials separated them.
Without Timonen and Meszaros - both out indefinitely with what the Flyers said are lower-body injuries -- Bryzgalov needed to play well, and he did.
Making a sixth straight start, Bryzgalov was tested frequently, including when he made saves on shots by Alexander Semin and Mathieu Perreault in quick succession during the first period. About 7 minutes into the second, Capitals forward Mike Knuble broke behind the Flyers defense for a 1-on-1 chance, but Bryzgalov kicked the puck aside.
"If you're getting no chances, it makes a big difference," Caps coach Dale Hunter said. "You get breakaways and 2-on-1s and slap shots from the slot, you've just got to keep doing the same thing. Hopefully, they go in. You can't be frustrated. Just keep getting pucks to the net. We fired a lot of rubber on him again tonight."
Right after that, Laviolette called time and gave his players an animated talking-to, gesturing all the while. Less than a minute later, the Flyers reacted by taking the lead at the 7:51 mark on Wellwood's second goal in six games this season. That ended a dubious streak: In each of the Flyers last nine games, they had allowed the first goal.
"We've got clean up certain aspects of our game," Brouwer said. "We've got to find ways to score. That's two games in a row we've been shut out. That's unacceptable."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.
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