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game recap

Capitals hold off Flyers, maintain lead in Metropolitan Division

Holtby makes 35 saves, Washington stays one point ahead of Islanders

by Harvey Valentine / Correspondent

Vrana's breakaway tally

PHI@WSH: Vrana beats Elliott on breakaway, pads lead

Jakub Vrana receives Brett Connolly's pass and beats Brian Elliott five-hole on a breakaway to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead in the 3rd

  • 00:51 •

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals maintained their lead in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Capital One Arena on Sunday.

Braden Holtby made 35 saves for the Capitals (44-24-8), who are one point ahead of the New York Islanders. The Capitals are 1-1-1 in their past three games and 10-3-1 in their past 14.

"Big thing about this time of year is feeling good about your game and executing," Washington's Tom Wilson said after the Capitals rebounded from a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Friday. "We didn't feel that we really did that against Minnesota very well and just wanted kind of a bounce-back game and we did enough to get the win."


[WATCH: All Flyers vs. Capitals highlights]


Jakub Voracek scored for the Flyers (36-32-8), who are 2-5-0 in their past seven games after going 6-1-1 in their previous eight. They are eight points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"It's not a secret. Right now, it's going to be real tough to get in," Philadelphia's Claude Giroux said. "Two weeks ago, I think we had confidence in our group, we liked the way we were playing and last two weeks hasn't gone our way."

Brian Elliott made 27 saves for Flyers, who were playing the second of back-to-backs after losing to the New York Islanders 4-2 on Saturday.

"Holtby was great. [Elliott] was great as well. He made a couple big stops. We just didn't score," Vorcek said. "We had so many chances. I think we moved pretty well. For us playing our third game in three and a half days, I think we moved better than them, just couldn't score more than one."

Video: PHI@WSH: Holtby shuts down Konecny, Gostisbehere

Wilson gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 3:52 of the first period when he deflected Nick Jensen's shot from the point for his 22nd goal of the season.

The Capitals led 2-0 after Travis Boyd deflected Matt Niskanen's shot past Elliott at 10:47 of the second period.

Video: PHI@WSH: Boyd scores on redirection to double lead

"Yeah, you can practice them," Wilson said of the deflections. "Some guys have a knack a little bit more for it. I played a lot of net-front growing up, so it was just something that I kind of learned and tried to pick up techniques on."

Voracek pulled the Flyers within 2-1 with an unassisted power-play goal when a loose puck came to him in the bottom of the right circle and he scored from a tough angle at 17:10 of the second. It was his 20th goal of the season.

Video: PHI@WSH: Voracek hammers home PPG from tough angle

Philadelphia outshot Washington 20-7 in the second period.

"You're going to have the nights where maybe you don't have your A-game or whatever's going on," Boyd said. "If you have a goalie like [Holtby] who can kind of pick up the slack on those nights, it makes things a lot easier for us."

The Capitals made it 3-1 at 8:07 of the third period when Brett Connolly's pass from along the boards sent Jakub Vrana in alone on Elliott and he shot through the five hole for his 22nd goal of the season.

"It was a great wall play by Brett there," Vrana said. "I just tried to get open."


They said it

"We're pushing in the third period to try and get the equalizer and obviously we gave up some chances that we don't want to give up, but the guys played hard to the end and that's a good team over there too." -- Flyers coach Scott Gordon

"You know what I liked from the game is I liked how we responded in the third. It was a better third for us. I liked how some of our leaders stepped to the front in the third period when things weren't going great after the second." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden


Need to know

The Flyers won 63 percent of the faceoffs. … Philadelphia's Sean Couturier had his five-game point streak ended. … The Capitals swept the season series 4-0. … Vrana has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his last seven games against the Flyers. … Alex Ovechkin (assist) has 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in his past 19 games. … Connolly has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past six games.


What's next

Flyers: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, NBCSP, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBCSW, NHL.TV)  

Video: Capitals defeat Flyers, 3-1, extend Metropolitan lead

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