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POSTGAME 5: Caps Surge Late, Beat Flyers in OT

Playing their final road game and penultimate match of the 2020-21 season, the Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Washington Capitals in overtime, 2-1, at the Capital One Arena on Saturday evening.

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer / philadelphiaflyers.com

Playing their final road game and penultimate match of the 2020-21 season, the Philadelphia Flyers lost to the Washington Capitals in overtime, 2-1, at the Capital One Arena on Saturday evening. Philadelphia took a lead into the final minute of regulation but the Capitals forced OT and then won the game.

The Flyers finished their season series with Washington with a 2-5-1 record. Washington needed a regulation win to keep alive their hopes of winning the East Division.

The first period and second periods were scoreless. Scott Laughton (9th goal of the season) finally put one on the net in transition early in the third period . Lars Eller (8th) tied the game with a 6-on-5 goal in the final minute. Conor Sheary (14th) won the game in overtime.

Alex Lyon got the start for the Flyers, and flirted with a shutout until the final minute of regulation. He finished with 38 saves on 40 shots in a losing cause. Soon to be 40 years old, veteran goalie Craig Anderson got the start for the Capitals; his 652nd career game in the NHL. Anderson got the win with 28 saves on 29 shots.

The Flyers went 0-for-2 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.

The Capitals, riddled with injuries plus two players in COVID-19 protocol, had to dress just 17 skaters for the game. The absences included Alex Ovechkin. Nicklas Bäckström, John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov (COVID-19 protocol) and goalie Ilya Samsonov (COVID-19 protocol).

TURNING POINT

Laughton's snipe on a 2-on-1 broke a scoreless tie early in the third period. With 2:49 left, Jakub Voracek was called for a hooking penalty. Washington immediately pulled Anderson for an extra attacker and a 6-on-4 manpower edge. Lyon stepped up big, especially on a point blank stop on Tom Wilson. But with play at 5-on-4, Eller scored on a one-timer to knot the game at 1-1 with 39.3 seconds left. Anthony Mantha and Justin Schultz earned the assists. Overtime ensued.

In overtime, Laughton put on a burst of speed but was denied by Anderson. With exactly one minute remaining in the 3-on-3, the Capitals scored off the rush to end the game. Defended by Travis Sanheim, Dowd put a pass to Sheary going to the net. The puck trickled through Lyon and into the net to end the game.

MELTZER'S TAKE 

1) The first period was rather sloppy, uninspired hockey. The Flyers were guilty of several unforced turnovers and neither team was especially crisp with their passing or gaps. Lyon made a big save (and Samuel Morin defended it perfectly in taking away a pass across) on a 3-on-1 rush for the Capitals with Travis Sanheim caught behind the play. Shots were 13-8 in Washington's favor. 

Ivan Provorov picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the opening minute of the game as he protested a hooking penalty against him. The Capitals got a four-minute power play but it very quickly became a four-on-four for two minutes after Tom Wilson was called for hooking Sean Couturier.

2) At 8:53 of the first period, there was an open-ice knee-to-knee collision between Washington's Tom Wilson and the Flyers' Nicolas Aube-Kubel. NAK was OK but Wilson needed some assistance to limp off the ice and up the tunnel. The Capitals temporarily had to play with 16 skaters (10 forwards and six defensemen) but Wilson returned for the second period.

3) In the second period, Cam York created the first power play opportunity for the Flyers as he was tripped up by Nic Dowd. The Flyers were unable to cash in. Later, a rare unforced turnover by Michael Raffl led to a Flyers scoring chance. On a partial breakaway, Aube-Kubel passed up the opportunity in close to make a drop pass to James van Riemsdyk, whose shot attempt was blocked by younger brother Trevor van Riemsdyk. Provorov, who also struggled again in handling pucks as he did in Friday's match, took his third penalty of the game (interference with Dowd on a hit near the net). 

4) Second period shots were 12-6 in the Flyers' favor (42-36 shot attempt advantage for the Flyers). Philly had a 53.85% all-situation Corsi. Scoring chances were 15-15 but the Caps had a 7-2 edge in scoring chances of the high-danger variety. This largely stemmed from the Flyers' struggles to generate second-chance opportunities around the net. At the other end of the ice, Elliott's save on a Hagelin breakaway kept the game scoreless. In the physical play department, Myers had four credited hits and Sam Morin had three through the opening 40 minutes. 

T.J. Oshie skated back to the bench in a lot of discomfort after a late second period hit by Aube-Kubel along the board. He was favoring his lower-body. Oshie did not return for the third period.

5) On a 2-on-1 rush started by a good JVR pass, puck-carrier Laughton elected to shoot and went bar down for a 1-0 Flyers lead at 3:42 of the third period. The Capitals were the better team during the penalty-filled frame, including during a Flyers power play spent largely in the Philadelphia zone. The Capitals eventually broke through to tie -- then win -- the game.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: Big Laughts. #AnytimeAnywhere | #PHIvsWSH pic.twitter.com/04RxCjark8

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