The Washington Capitals made their way up to the City of Brotherly Love for the first time this season tonight to face off against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Caps and Flyers met back in DC in November, with the Flyers coming away with a 2-1 win. The Flyers have been struggling as of late, and are currently sitting at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division alongside the Devils with just 39 points on the season. The vibe at Wells Fargo Center certainly matched the Flyers’ season – for a division rivalry matchup, the crowd sure was quiet.
Coach Laviolette’s lines looked like this:
Capitals lines in Philadelphia:— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) February 17, 2022
Those top two lines look like a heck of a lot of fun and could be exciting to watch. Justin Schultz is out of the lineup after sustaining an injury in Tuesday’s game in Nashville and Michal Kempny draws in on the third pair. Ilya Samsonov gets his fourth consecutive start tonight, with Pheonix Copley still sitting backup. Carter Hart started Philadelphia’s last five games, so Martin Jones was in net opposite Samsonov. Jones’ last start was on January 25, a loss to the Islanders.
Here’s Thursday night’s Plus/Minus:
The #Caps have had 11 rookies in the lineup this season. Snively is already up to second in goals with 4 (behind McMichael, who has 7) and Snively has been here for a couple of minutes.— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) February 18, 2022
Minus: Alex Ovechkin had a weird night and whiffed on several shots. We don’t know how, but this was Wayne Gretzky’s doing...
And now, this:
Eleven more notes on the game:
1. Michal Kempny announced his return to the lineup by immediately taking a tripping penalty against Max Willman just 1:41 after puck drop. Hey, Kempny has to continue his tour of the NHL’s penalty boxes whenever he can! A fun wrinkle on this Philadelphia power play: we saw brothers Trevor and James van Riemsdyk facing off, with TvR on the PK and JvR on the PP. TvR made an excellent clear about halfway through the Flyers’ man-advantage, and the Washington PK kept the Flyers off the scoreboard.
2. Clearly the first period was destined to be the Michal Kempny Show, because it was Kempny who finally opened the scoring with 1:25 left. Washington’s fourth line got the play started, with Garnet Hathaway sending the puck to Nic Dowd to the left circle from behind the net. The Flyers had been drawn down low on the play, leaving Kempny wide open for a pass. He fired a point shot through moving traffic, and Martin Jones did not stand a chance.
Kempny scored this goal from the parking lot and we head into the intermission up one-zip!! pic.twitter.com/beKFJZMYmG— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) February 18, 2022
This is Kempny’s first goal since his two-goal effort against Vancouver on October 25, 2019. The Capitals have now scored the game’s first goal in 12 of their last 13 road games, including the last nine straight. 1-0 Washington.
3. Trevor van Riemsdyk took exception to a hit Scott Laughton laid on Michal Kempny into the boards, and TvR and Laughton dropped the gloves. This was just Washington’s sixth fight of the season. Both Laughton and van Riemsdyk got five for fighting, but the refs tacked on an extra instigator penalty and a 10-minute misconduct for TvR to put the Flyers’ power play at 7:37 of the second. Gerry Mahyew capitalized on the weird penalties after an excellent pass from Oskar Lindblom, tying things up at one goal apiece.
4. Isaac Ratcliffe was called for interference 9:57 into the middle frame, putting the Caps on their first power play of the night. 1:15 into the Washington man-advantage, Cam Atkinson got dinged for a delay of game penalty to give the Caps 45 seconds of 5-on-3. Alex Ovechkin hit the post with one of the loudest pings ever, but it was Joe Snively who restored Washington’s one-goal lead after Ratcliffe’s penalty expired. He corralled his own rebound and fired it behind Jones into an empty net, marking his first NHL power play goal.
The Pride of Herndon, VA Joe Snively has scored four goals in four games.— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) February 18, 2022
He's got seven points in nine career games.
He should be inducted into the Hall of Fame tonight. pic.twitter.com/9YVp9cIo9F
Snively has five points in his last four games, and four of those points are goals. He now has seven points (4G, 3A) in nine career games. No big deal.
5. The Capitals were caught totally flat-footed in the offensive zone, and Travis Sanheim and Travis Konecny were able to get a two-on-one going up the ice. Sanheim finished it off after a spot-on saucer pass from Konecny with 58.4 left on the clock. The Flyers had been pushing since Snively’s goal, and the effort paid off. 2-2 after two.
6. Michal Kempny took his second penalty of the game with 12:11 to go in the third for holding Claude Giroux, and Tom Wilson took a tripping penalty on Scott Laughton just 21 seconds later. If Kempny’s penalty didn’t put a lot of pressure on the Capitals’ PK, Wilson’s penalty sure and the ensuing 5-on-3 sure did. Not to worry, though, because Nic Dowd made an excellent clear early on and Nick Jensen wrapped it up with a block on a Giroux slapper and a clear. Jensen was on for 2:10 of those overlapping penalties, including the entirety of the 5-on-3. Ilya Samsonov stood tall in net as well, keeping the Flyers’ power play from finding the back of the net.
7. 20 seconds after Wilson’s penalty expired, Scott Laughton was called for tripping Dmitry Orlov. Despite it being a perfect opportunity for the Caps to take the lead with a power play tally, they did not get much going on the man-advantage and squandered the opportunity. Still tied at 2-2 with 9:30 left.
8. A bit of fisticuffs broke out behind the Philly net at 14:02 after a puck scrum, resulting in Nic Dowd and Keith Yandle both heading to the sin bin for matching roughing minors. The Flyers got the better chances during the ensuing 4-on-4, but neither team managed to convert. Unfortunately, Gerry Mayhew got his second goal of the night after a complete defensive breakdown from the Caps less than 10 seconds after the 4-on-4 expired. 3-2 Philly.
9. Fortunately, Garnet Hathaway tied things up 54 seconds later with a deflection of a John Carlson shot from the blueline. The shot did not seem to have much on it, but Hathaway was in the perfect position to redirect the puck past Jones. Tie game once again, 2:57 left on the clock.
HATHAWAY'S DEFLECTION TIES THIS BABY UP! pic.twitter.com/8fEDe7KoIg— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) February 18, 2022
10. With 1:12 to go, Garnet Hathaway doubled up and hit double digits in goals on the season to give the Capitals a 4-3 lead. On bad play by Ivan Provorov, Carl Hagelin stole the puck and passed it to Hathaway in the slot. This was an excellent play from Hagelin to restore Washington’s lead, and an excellent finish from Hathaway.
11. 23 seconds after Hathaway’s tally, John Carlson sealed the deal with an empty netter to make it 5-3 after the Flyers pulled Martin Jones. The goal was under review by Toronto’s situation room to ensure it was not played with a high stick, but the goal stood for Carlson’s tenth of the season. This was also in the final minute of the game, which means Carlson won Caps fans free McNuggets. Capitals win, 5-3.
Up next for the Caps: a full week off before meeting the Rangers at MSG next Thursday, February 24 at 7PM EST.