The Washington Capitals fell to the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 2-1 at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday afternoon. The loss kept the Capitals five points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, who host the New York Rangers (who are six points ahead of the Capitals for second in the Metropolitan Division with two games in hand) on Saturday, for third with both teams having played 54 games entering Sunday.
They also lead the Boston Bruins (three games in hand) by just a point for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 20 saves in the loss.
Capitals’ Lineup at Flyers
Defenseman Michal Kempny replaced Justin Schultz in the only lineup change from the Capitals’ 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday.
Scratched: RW Daniel Sprong, LHD Matt Irwin
Injured: Schultz (upper-body, missed second game in last three, day-to-day); G Vitek Vanecek (upper-body, eighth straight, day-to-day); LW Anthony Mantha (shoulder, 44th, day-to-day)
11 seconds in, Flyers captain Claude Giroux ripped a shot under the blocker of Samsonov from the slot after breaking behind the Capitals defense and getting a feed from right-wing Cam Atkinson in the neutral zone.
With 3:30 left, Capitals right-wing Tom Wilson dropped the gloves with Flyers center Zack McEwen after being forced to tangle and both players went down.
👊 Zack MacEwen vs. Tom Wilson pic.twitter.com/hqsQoHWphm
— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) February 26, 2022
Atkinson chipped a shot to the top corner from the side of the goal after Capitals left-wing Conor Sheary fumbled an attempted break up of center Derick Brassard’s pass down low to double the orange and black’s lead with 1:22 left.
The Capitals led 11-3 in hits, 9-2 in blocked shots, and failed to strike on two power-play opportunities through 20 minutes.
The Flyers led 14-9 in shots, won 76% of the draws, and had three giveaways while the Capitals had six in the first.
Each team earned a takeaway in the opening stanza.
Right-wing T.J. Oshie slapped one to the top corner from the right dot after getting a pass from center Nicklas Backstrom from the other side of the dot to cut the Flyers’ lead in half on the power play at 6:53. It marked Backstrom’s 733rd career assist, passing Rod Brind’Amour for the 48th-most assists in NHL history. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded the secondary assist on Oshie’s goal, marking his team-leading 35th assist of the season.
On the board with this Osh snipe pic.twitter.com/0VFk8ddyUI
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 26, 2022
The Capitals led 20-18 in shots (including 11-4 in the second), 3-1 in takeaways, 18-7 in blocked shots, 19-12 in hits, had six giveaways while the Flyers had nine, and struck once on three power plays through 40 minutes.
The Flyers won 59% of the faceoffs and did not score on two opportunities on the man advantage in the first two periods.
The Capitals led 28-22 in shots (including 8-4 in the third), 5-2 in takeaways, 19-16 in blocked shots, 30-21 in hits, had seven giveaways while the Flyers had 11, and struck once on three power plays.
The Flyers won 60% of the faceoffs and did not score on two opportunities on the man advantage.
Next game: Monday vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington in-market, ESPN+ out-of-market)
By Harrison Bron