Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
The Washington Capitals fell to the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-2 at Capital One Arena on Friday night. The loss kept the Capitals two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins with a game in hand. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 25 saves in the loss.
Capitals’ Lines vs. Flyers
Forward Daniel Sprong returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday’s 4-2 win at the New York Rangers due to illness, playing alongside center Nicklas Backstrom and forward Anthony Mantha. Vanecek made his third straight start and fifth in the past six games. Captain Alex Ovechkin (lower-body injury) missed his sixth consecutive game. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov and goaltender Ilya Samsonov (both on COVID-19 protocol) each missed their third. Defenseman Justin Schultz (lower-body injury) also missed his third. Forward Michael Raffl, who played the first 504 games of his NHL career for the Flyers, faced his former team for the first time since getting traded to the Capitals in exchange for the Vegas Golden Knights’ 2021 fifth-round pick on April 12.
After Capitals center Nic Dowd threw the puck towards the front of his own net, it went off of the side of the goal and right to Flyers center Kevin Hayes, who hit the post. Forward Joel Farabee got the rebound at the post and knocked it wide but Vanecek’s right pad knocked the puck in to make it 1-0 Flyers at 1:44.
Sprong kicked the puck into the net in the crease during a goal mouth scramble at 4:10 but the goal did not count because Sprong knocked it in with a distinct kicking motion.
After center Nicklas Backstrom lost a faceoff to the right off goaltender Brian Elliott, forward Anthony Mantha chased the puck in the corner, retrieved it, and fed Sprong on the backhand. Sprong ripped it past the catching glove of Elliott while falling for his sixth goal in as many games with 3:41 left.
Scoring while falling down on one knee. What can’t this man do?! pic.twitter.com/EuRXrwbPLg
— x – Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 7, 2021
The Capitals led 6-2 in takeaways, 5-4 in blocked shots, and won 55% of the draws through 20 minutes.
The Flyers led 8-6 in hits after one.
Each team posted eight shots, one giveaway, and no penalties in the first.
After getting a dump in off of the end boards, forward Wade Allison whipped one past the blocker of Vanecek and to the post to give the Flyers the lead back 4:19 into the period.
Allison batted in a rebound out of mid-air past the glove of Vanecek after defenseman Philippe Myers pinched in and wrapped around the net to feed him and the Flyers extended their lead to 3-1 with 5:15 to go in the second.
Forward T.J. Oshie tipped in defenseman Brenden Dillon’s wrister from the point in front of Elliott for his fourth goal in two games to cut the Flyers’ lead to one with 69 seconds left. Dillon recorded his 17th primary assist of the season. The goal was Oshie’s 150th and the point was his 300th since joining the Capitals.
How about FOUR GOALS in two games for OshBabe! pic.twitter.com/PHs7cctbBT
— x – Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 8, 2021
The Capitals led 20-19 in shots, including 12-11 in the second, 9-2 in takeaways, and failed to score on one power play in the first two periods.
The Flyers led 9-7 in blocked shots, won 57% of the draws, and did not score on two power plays through 40 minutes.
Each team tallied 11 hits and three giveaways through two.
Center Sean Couturier backhanded a shot from beyond the blueline into the empty net with 30.1 seconds left to double the Flyers’ lead.
The Capitals led 30-29 in shots, 10-4 in takeaways, 17-15 in hits, had three giveaways while the Flyers had four, and failed to score on one power play.
The Flyers led 13-12 in blocked shots, won 57% of the draws, and did not score on two power plays.
Each team recorded 10 third-period shots.
The Capitals and Flyers do it again at Capital One Arena on Saturday night. Action from the District can be seen on NBC Sports Washington+ beginning at 7 PM ET. The Penguins finish the regular season against the Buffalo Sabres, which can be seen on NBC beginning at 3 PM ET.
By Harrison Brown