In a final game of the 2021 preseason, the Flyers lost to the Washington Capitals, 5-3, at Capital One Arena on Friday evening. The game was feisty and physical at times but often sloppy in execution. Philadelphia ended the preseason with a 2-3-1 record.
Lars Eller gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. John Carlson doubled the lead about five minutes into the second period before the Flyers struck back for one goal by Claude Giroux and two by Cam Atkinson. In the third period, goals by Tom Wilson (power play) and Anthony Mantha put Washington back in the lead. Nic Dowd tacked on an empty netter.
Martin Jones had his ups and downs in yielding four goals on 31 shots. Ilya Samsonov stopped 22 of 25 shots to earn the win.
Even with the Capitals having a goal disallowed in the third period right after re-tying the score at 3-3, they were the better team the rest of the way. Once the Caps forged ahead again, the Flyers did not come particularly close to finding an equalizer.
1) The Eller goal started with a sloppy exit attempt by the Flyers that went for a turnover charged to Garrett Wilson. The Capitals had the puck the rest of the shift. The ultimate rebound goal by Eller at 11:11 came after the puck got away from Jones and Keith Yandle fanned on it.
2) After an early power play opportunity, the Flyers spent most of the first period hemmed in their own zone (12-6 shot disparity in Washington's favor, 40 percent all-situations Corsi for the Flyers). The Caps held their breath after Alex Ovechkin limped off the ice after delivering a bumping hit to Travis Konecny's back. Late in the period, the Flyers had a second power play and had three scoring chances: Konecny missed the net on a one-timer from the slot; Ryan Ellis was denied from the hash marks and Provorov hit the crossbar before the buzzer.
3) On Carlson's goal at 4:56 of the second period, the Flyers won the initial defensive zone faceoff, but the Caps soon gained possession. Carlson saw a wide open lane to pinch down to the left circle. From the face-off dot, he hit the far side top corner. Martin Fehervary and Evgeny Kuznetsov got the assists. The Flyers' got one of the goals back at 9:25 after Giroux pucked the puck up off the side of the net, came out and scored. Sean Couturier got the lone assist.
4) Atkinson's first goal,scored at 10:41 of the second period, came on a 2-on-1. Electing to unleash a quick shot, Atkinson sniped it home for an unassisted goal. He notched another unassisted tally at 18:20. The shot was partially blocked by Dmitry Orlov but knuckleballed into the net to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead. In the final minute of the frame, after landing a bit hit, Garrett Wilson dropped the gloves with T.J. Oshie and got the better of it.
5) Things unraveled on the Flyers in the third period after Scott Laughton was called on a holding penalty. Washington controlled the puck and, after a Carlson offering came out in front, Wilson was alone in the slot to bury a power play tally at 2:27. The Caps had a seeming go-ahead goal wiped out 16 seconds later on an off-side challenge. Aube-Kubel gamely fought the bigger Nick Jensen, but the Cap player came out ahead. At 4:02, after an Eliis shot was blocked up ice, the Caps had a 2-on-1. Conor Sheary made a gorgeous saucer pass to Anthony Mantha, who scored to make it 4-3. That one certainly counted.
The feistiness continued with Couturier taking a double minor for cross-checking and roughing. Play went to 4-on-4 after Tom Wilson went after Joel Farabee. The Flyers got an eventual short power play but generated no shots to go to 0-for-4 on the night on the man advantage. The Flyers generated little pressure amid lots of sloppy play. In the final minute, a long-range empty netter by Nic Dowd sealed the final.