Inauspicious Start – For the second time in as many games, the Caps surrendered a goal within the first two minutes of a game. And for the second time in as many games, the Capitals were able to put forth a third-period flurry and come away with at least a point.
While Washington was able to rebound with three third-period goals in a span of 6:16 to put away the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, that script didn’t play the same with the top team in the Eastern Conference – the Philadelphia Flyers – on Tuesday.
Washington came up on the short end of a 3-2 overtime decision.
Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth was nicked for a wraparound goal from Flyers forward Jeff Carter at 1:31 of the first period, giving up a goal on the first shot of the contest. Washington defenseman John Carlson forced Carter wide and around to the back of the net, but Neuvirth drifted a bit from his crease and was not in position to get over to the far post when Carter carved around the back of the cage.
Neuvirth left the game after the first period because of a lower body injury. Semyon Varlamov replaced him. Like Neuvirth, Varlamov was dented for a goal on eight shots in his first 20 minutes of work. Philly’s Claude Giroux beat Varlamov with a putback of his own rebound at 13:38 of the second to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead.
The Capitals managed only a dozen shots on goal in the game’s first 40 minutes; they had nearly as many (10) shot tries blocked. As has been the custom of late, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau re-jiggered his forward lines for the third, and the combinations clicked.
Caps center Marcus Johansson stripped Philly’s Ville Leino, but the rookie pivot’s shot hit the goalpost. It lay there until linemate Mike Knuble crashed the net and bulled the puck in to put the Capitals on the board at 7:58 of the final frame.
Just 40 seconds later, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin mostly fanned on a shot from the left side of the Philly goal crease, but the puck still scooted behind Flyers’ goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Jason Chimera and Nicklas Backstrom earned helpers on the Ovechkin tally.
Washington was unable to get the go-ahead goal, and it fell on Andrej Meszaros’ second goal of the season at the 1:07 mark of overtime.
O Woes – Tuesday’s game marks the 11th straight game in which the Caps scored three or fewer goals, the team’s longest such streak in more than five years.
It marked the fourth straight games Washington has been limited to fewer than 30 shots on goal, the team’s longest such streak in more than five years.
It marked the 23rd straight game in which the Caps failed to record multiple power play goals, the team’s longest such streak in nine years.
Extra Work – The Caps won their first five overtime or shootout decisions of the season, but have now dropped six straight games in which more than 60 minutes of hockey has been played.
Is Someone Getting The Best of You? – Ovechkin came into Tuesday’s tilt with 19 career goals in 21 career games against the Flyers. That’s the most he has scored against any non-Southeast Division team in his career.
Ovechkin now has 20 goals in 22 games against the Flyers. He has scored more against only two clubs: Atlanta (30 in 41 games) and Tampa Bay (25 in 40 games).
The 300 Club – Backstrom’s third-period assist was the 300th point of his NHL career and it came in his 293rd game.
First Time In Philly – Several of the Caps hit the Wells Fargo Center ice for the first time in their NHL careers on Tuesday night.
Homegrown – Washington’s four homegrown first-round defensemen – Jeff Schultz, Mike Green, Karl Alzner and John Carlson – all skated more than 20 minutes in Tuesday’s game. It’s the ninth time this season they’ve done so, but the first time since a Dec. 1 win in St. Louis. The Capitals are 5-1-3 in the nine games in which those four blueliners skate 20 or more minutes.
Powerless – Washington went without a power play opportunity in Tuesday’s game. Philadelphia had just one power play chance, that on a David Steckel hooking call at 15:01 of the first period. The Flyers could not muster a shot on goal during their extra-man opportunity, so the game passed without a single power play shot on goal for either side.
Catch 22 – All three goaltenders in tonight’s game are 22 years old. Neuvirth, Varlamov and Bobrovsky were born in that order less than six months apart in 1988.
Back In Action – King played for the first time since Dec. 6 when he was in the lineup against the Maple Leafs at Verizon Center. His Tuesday appearance against the Flyers was his ninth in 47 Washington games this season.
King skated 4:24 in seven shifts on the night, getting into a first-period fight with Philadelphia’s Jody Shelley on his first shift of the evening.
Skaters Working Overtime – Tonight marked the third time in as many meetings between the Capitals and Flyers this season that more than 60 minutes of hockey was needed to determine the victor.
Washington took a 3-2 overtime decision on Green’s goal in the extra session on Nov. 7. The Flyers earned a 5-4 shootout win on Nov. 20 and took the overtime triumph tonight with Meszaros supplying the game-winner.
The Chase – While the Caps were tangling with the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers in Philly on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning was hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets at St. Pete Times Forum. The Caps and Lightning started the night as co-leaders in the Southeast Division.
The Lightning eked out a shootout win to push themselves a point ahead of Washington and back into solo possession of the top spot in the Southeast Division standings.
The Caps are in fifth place in the east, seven points behind front-running Philadelphia, two points in front of sixth-place Montreal and five points ahead of eighth-place Atlanta.
By The Numbers – Washington’s Mathieu Perreault won all six of his draws on the night … Philly’s Mike Richards was 13for-17 (76%) in the face-off circle … The Caps’ Jason Chimera skated 19:52 on the night, including 7:47 in the third period. That’s the most ice time Chimera has ever had since coming to Washington in a Dec. 28, 2009 trade with Columbus. It’s the most Chimera has skated in a game since he logged 20:29 against Nashville while with the Blue Jackets on Dec. 11, 2008 … Chimera paced the Capitals with six shots on goal … Hendricks led the Caps with five hits … Schultz led the Capitals with three blocked shots.
1 - 0 PHI
2 - 0 PHI
2 - 1 PHI
2 - 2 Tie