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POSTGAME 5: A Hole Dug Too Deep

POSTGAME 5: A Hole Dug Too Deep | Philadelphia Flyers

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer / philadelphiaflyers.com

Playing each other for the third time in course of the last week, the Philadelphia Flyers got swept by the Washington Capitals with three successive regulation losses. On Saturday night , the score was 5-4.

As with Thursday night, the Flyers dug themselves too deep of a hole from which to come back successfully. A desperation push in the third period brought the Flyers back within a goal but it was too little and too late.

Goals by Daniel Sprong (5th) and Carl Hagelin (3rd) staked the Capitals to a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. In the second period, the Flyers twice narrowed the deficit to one goal, and twice Washington restored a two-goal margin as a James van Riemsdyk goal (12th) was quickly answered by Nick Jensen (2nd overall, second against the Flyers this week). After Nolan Patrick (3rd) ended an 18-game point drought, a failed Flyers power play gave way to a successful one as Alex Ovechkin (PP, 10th) made it 4-2.

Ned Dowd scored a deflection goal at 4:24 of the third period to build a 5-2 cushion. Shayne Gostisbehere (5th) scored a seeing-eye goal through traffic to cut the deficit to 5-3. On a 6-on-5 attack, Jakub Voracek set up a one-timer goal for Claude Giroux (5th). The Flyers ran out of time looking for an equalizer.

Brian Elliott struggled in 23:06 of action, yielding three goals on 10 shots. Carter Hart came in to relieve the veteran, stopping 11 of 13 shots and getting charged with the loss. Ilya Samsonov denied 28 of 32 shots for Washington.

The Flyers went 1-for-3 on the power play and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill.

Philippe Myers returned to the Flyers' lineup after being a healthy scratch on Thursday. Veteran depth defenseman Nate Prosser dressed for the third time this season. Robert Hägg and Erik Gustafsson were healthy scratches.

TURNING POINT

The Flyers' issues with turnovers dug them a hole and forced them to chance the game all night. But they also had a golden opportunity to tie the game in the second period if they had scored on the power play. Instead, apart from one slick entry by Voracek, the power play sputtered and then ended abruptly on a Travis Sanheim penalty. Washington, further buoyed by two failed clearing opportunities for Justin Braun, turned it into an Ovechkin goal that sent the Flyers to the second intermission no better off -- two goals behind -- than they were after the first period.


MELTZER'S TAKE

1) Killer turnovers: An intercepted centering pass by Oskar Lindblom in the offensive zone, a Nolan Patrick turnover in the neutral zone, a bad rebound let out by Elliott and a second-chance put-in by Sprong that crawled up Elliott's arm, went off his back and into the net gave the Caps a 1-0 at 4:40. At 13:21, a failed defensive zone exit on a Jakub Voracek to Claude Giroux puck exchange that went for a turnover turned into a tip-in goal by Hagelin off a Nick Jensen shot. Elliott fought the puck the entire period.

2) Over the first period, the Flyers struggled to get through the neutral zone and when they did get time in the attack zone the Caps kept everything to the perimeter and took away everything over the middle. A couple of pinches by Flyers D-men (Sanheim, Gostisbehere) were effective at tines but not much else was.

3) It was the Capitals' turn to play for a turnover on the JVR goal, as Sprong turned the puck over directly to van Riemsdyk in the slot and he fired the puck past Samsonov for an unassisted goal at 2:36 of the second period. Unfortunately, the Flyers continued their season-long tendency of yielding a goal very shortly after scoring one. At 3:05, Voracek had a shot blocked, Jensen beat Gostisbehere to the puck up the ice and the defenseman snapped one to the long side past Elliott. 

4) Sanheim held a puck in at the point early in the broken-play sequence that led up to Patrick's long-awaited third goal of the season. A Sanheim shot was blocked, and Voracek stayed with it and made a nice pass to get to Patrick in the lower left circle at 5:47. The Flyers had a chance subsequently to tie the game on the power play, but struggled to get set up and eventually led to a defensive holding penalty by Sanheim. Two failed clears by Justin Braun on the PK enabled the Caps to keep possession and get set up before Ovechkin wired home a Nicklas Bäckström pass at 13:10.

5) Dowd, open in front, tipped a Garnet Hathaway shot past Hart to make it 5-2 at 4:25 of the third period. Kevin Hayes had a turnover at the front of the sequence. A good entry by Sean Couturier and swirling traffic led to a Gostisbehere power play goal at 13:07. At 17:03, Sanheim started the sequence and then Voracek made a gorgeous feed to Giroux for a one-time blast from the left circle that beat Samsonov. The Flyers had a couple of good looks -- especially one for Travis Konecny -- with a chance to tie but couldn't pot one. On one sequence, Giroux had the puck where he wanted it -- the same spot from which he scored his goal -- but the Capitals boxed out any traffic in front. 
 

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