Capitals can’t get it together, lose again to Flyers 1-3
After a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers earlier in the week, the Washington Capitals came home for a return match on several days’ rest. But the result was no different–another loss. Before the game, the announcement was made that Anthony Mantha, after being a healthy scratch the previous two games, was returned to the lineup. In addition, the lines were drastically changed featuring combinations not seen before. Dylan Strome was also announced as a healthy scratch. none of these decisions seemed to make any difference as the Capitals turned in another slow start that led to a loss. Key to the Flyers’ fortunes however was the play of goalie Carter Hart who gave a 39-save performance.
Scott Laughton gave the Flyers the lead at 13:16 of the opening period after deflecting Tony DeAngelo’s point shot from in the slot. The goal came on the power play after a controversial call on Lars Eller for tripping, despite replays showing that the offended player had launched himself into the air without contact from Eller. Late in the period at 17:56, Alex Ovechkin scored his 30th goal of the season after collecting a rebound in front of the net and putting in a backhand shot. Conor Sheary had pushed the puck toward the net to begin the play but was not credited with an assist.
For most of the remainder of the game, the Capitals’ offense looked lost, relying on shots from the perimeter and not properly positioning themselves for rebounds and second-chance opportunities. And where they did not misfire, the Flyers were ready with a blocked shot or a timely save from Hart. In a 49-second span during the second period, the Capitals dug themselves a two-goal deficit that inevitably cost them the game. James van Riemsdyk scored into a mostly empty net at 4:51. Darcy Kuemper misplayed the puck and turned it over to Morgan Frost in the corner. Owen Tippett then picked up the pass and flung it over to an uncovered van Riemsdyk who made no mistake putting the puck in the net. At 5:40, Wade Allison took advantage of a scrum in front of the net, putting himself just inside the slot and awaiting the pass from behind the net to put away the goal.
Washington stepped up their efforts in the third period, but it was far too late and they still got no results to show for it. Hart faced more dangerous chances but was ready for all of them. He made 19 saves in the final period alone and his effort was announced as the first start of the game.
NOTES—Ovechkin’s goal tied him with ex-Cap Mike Gartner for most 30-goal seasons in a career with 17. The goal also gives him 400 home goals in his illustrious career. The loss marks the first set of back-to-back regulation losses since mid-November for the Capitals. Washington’s next game is scheduled for Monday the 16th against the New York Islanders at the UBS arena. Start time is scheduled for 7:30 PM ET.
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