Capitals Fall To Flyers, 7-4; Tom Wilson And Alex Ovechkin Each Notch Four Points

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 7-4 on Sunday afternoon. The loss kept the Capitals in third place in the East Division with 15 points and they a game in hand on the Flyers. They have a four-point cushion on the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have a game in hand on the Capitals. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 10 saves before getting pulled in his ninth consecutive start. Goaltender Craig Anderson made six saves on eight shots after replacing Vanecek in his Capitals’ debut.

Capitals’ Lines vs. Flyers

Photo: @Capitals

Forward Richard Panik moved up in the lineup with Jakub Vrana, who was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Saturday, out while forward Daniel Carr replaced T.J. Oshie, who missed Sunday’s game due to an upper-body injury. Forward Philippe Maillet also drew into the lineup, making his NHL debut centering the fourth-line. Center Lars Eller returned after sitting out the past four games with an upper-body injury. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov and goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who are both on the COVID-19 protocol list, missed their eighth consecutive games. Defenseman Justin Schultz (upper-body injury) missed his third straight game but forward Conor Sheary (lower-body injury) returned after missing Thursday’s 4-2 loss at the New York Rangers. Defenseman Zdeno Chara passed Nicklas Lidstrom for the fifth-most games played by an NHL defenseman (1565).

Center Sean Couturier returned for the Flyers after missing their 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Friday with back spasms. Goaltender Carter Hart returned after missing Friday’s game with back spasms. Defenseman Travis Sanheim (undisclosed) did not play.

First Period

Captain Alex Ovechkin wristed one to the top corner on Hart from the top of the left circle after getting a cross-ice feed from forward Tom Wilson to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead 11:11 into the game on the power-play.

Wilson buried a feed from Ovechkin in front of the goal after Ovechkin put the puck through his own legs and the legs of Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers to put the Capitals up 2-0 with 3:24 left.

Forward Scott Laughton buried a rebound into a wide-open net after defenseman Erik Gustafsson’s shot hit the post in a goal-mouth scramble to cut the Capitals’ lead in half with 1:27 remaining in the first.

The Capitals led 15-9 in shots, 7-6 in hits, 4-1 in blocked shots, won 56% of the draws, and scored on their lone power-play of the period.

The Flyers had two giveaways while the Capitals had five through 20 minutes.

Each team recorded one takeaway in the first.

Second Period

Laughton finished a backhand pass from forward Joel Farabee at the side of the goal for his second of the game to even the score 2:29 into the second.

Ovechkin blasted one from long range after Backstrom fed him from the half-wall to give the Capitals the lead back 1:39 after Laughton tied it.

Defenseman Robert Hagg hammered a shot from the slot high-glove on Vanecek after getting a feed from forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel down the left side to tie it again at 7:50.

Forward James Van Riemsdyk went top corner on Vanecek down the wing to give the Flyers a 4-3 lead with 3:24 left in the second after Ovechkin’s hard shot missed the net at the other side of the rink and the puck followed him. Craig Anderson replaced Vanecek after the goal and the Flyers scored four goals on 14 shots. It was Anderson’s first game since March 11.

Backstrom spun around and backhanded a shot through the wickets of Hart in font after a tic-tac-toe passing play with Ovechkin and Wilson, who each recorded their fourth point of the game on the goal, to tie it again with 57 seconds left in the second.

The Capitals led 30-14 in shots, including 15-6 in the second, 15-7 in hits, 9-4 in blocked shots, and scored on their lone power-play through 40 minutes.

The Flyers led 7-6 in takeaways, had six giveaways while the Capitals had eight, and did not score on two power-play opportunities in the first two periods.

Each team won 50% of the draws in the first and second periods.

Third Period

Center Sean Couturier slid one through the five-hole of Anderson from the slot after forward Michael Raffl fed him from in front to give the Flyers a 5-4 lead just 31 seconds into the third.

Laughton pounced on the rebound after Anderson robbed Farabee on a breakaway and Laughton and Farabee were on a two-on-one rush to extend the lead to two with 2:09 left.

Couturier made it 7-4 with an empty netter from the defensive zone with 1:22 left.

The Capitals led 37-23 in shots, 21-11 in hits, 13-9 in blocked shots, and scored on their lone power-play.

The Flyers led 9-7 in third-period shots, 7-6 in takeaways, had six giveaways while the Capitals had eight, won 52% of the draws, and did not score on four power-play opportunities.

Each team was credited with seven takeaways and nine takeaways.

The Capitals and Flyers will finish off their two-game set in Washington on Tuesday night. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBCSN nationally or NBC Sports Washington locally beginning at 6 PM ET.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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5 Responses to Capitals Fall To Flyers, 7-4; Tom Wilson And Alex Ovechkin Each Notch Four Points

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    I feel like the team is now the Edmonton Oilers, Southeast Division, where defense and goaltending are optional.

  2. Anonymous says:

    They need their horses back Schultz, Oshie, kuzy etc. 5on5 play defensively is so bad since the onjuries/covid hit this club. Compared to their main competitors Bs&Philly who are still together, they aren’t down 2-3 key cogs like a McAvoy, Marchand, Pasta, or for Philly Hayes, JVR& Konecny/Couterier.
    Also too it may be too much for this team to play man on man defense. Maybe Lavy needs to shift more to a zone. Not saying caps don’t have any good d bc they do but seems like they are giving up 3-4 a night lately. Instead of keeping it under 3.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Agree on all counts, but more specifically the inability to play man defense at this point. Maybe Schultz is enough to turn the whole thing around on the back end, but I still feel a deal may be needed prior to deadline.

  3. Pingback: Monday Caps Clips: Fumbled

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