The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers met tonight for the third time this season, kicking off a home-and-home in Philly that will wrap up in DC later this week. These two teams last faced off a month ago, and that tilt ended in a 4-1 Caps victory. The Caps came into tonight’s matchup looking to extend their road win streak to eight games, but the Flyers had won five of their last six games before tonight.
Here’s how the Capitals lined up tonight:
Capitals lines vs Flyers:— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) January 11, 2023
Kuemper (vs Hart)
Darcy Kuemper once again got the nod for the Caps, hopefully riding the good vibes of his shutout of Columbus on Sunday. Coach Laviolette shook up his lines tonight after the Caps’ lackluster performance on Sunday. The most intriguing combo here is the Eller-Backstrom-Oshie second line. Will it work? Let’s find out.
Don’t forget, a Caps-Flyers matchup in Philly means some sibling fun in the City of Brotherly Love!
Can't get any more City of Brotherly Love than this!— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 12, 2023
Here’s Wednesday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: Despite allowing four goals, Darcy Kuemper had a great game tonight. The Capitals did not play well in front of him, and he bailed them out more than a few times. He is the only reason the game was not more lopsided.
Minus: Pretty much everything else. The Capitals forgot how to play defense, they were sloppy with the puck, and they just looked sluggish. Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson are the ones coming back from major offseason surgery, but they did not look like the only ones in that situation tonight.
And now, congrats on 500 NHL games, TvR!
A few more thoughts on tonight’s game:
1. Alex Ovechkin got called for tripping Owen Tippett at 7:13 of the first. Unfortunately for the Caps, it took the Flyers just 13 seconds to convert on their power play. Scott Laughton, who always seems to score against the Capitals, took advantage of some traffic in the crease and found the back of the net with a wrister from the point. 1-0 Philly early on.
2. The Capitals went back on the penalty kill four minutes after Laughton’s goal after Tippett drew his second tripping penalty of the period, this time from Evgeny Kuznetsov. This Flyers’ power play went much better for Washington, holding Philly to just one shot while Kuzy was in the sin bin.
3. Garnet Hathaway got the Caps on the board with 53.4 left in the first after a great team-effort passing sequence. Nic Dowd got the play started with an off-the-boards pass on a rush to Nick Jensen, and Jensen made an incredible tape-to-tape cross-ice pass to Hathaway down low. Hathaway, who was driving hard to the net, was able to tap the puck past Carter Hart and over the line.
Thanks for the nuggets, Garny!
4. Travis Konecny restored the Flyers’ lead only 21 seconds after Hathaway’s goal. Joel Farabee made an excellent play from behind the net and sent the puck up the ice to a waiting Konecny. There were three Caps players in the crease, and apparently no one saw Konecny in the slot in his bright orange sweater. Because Farabee’s play behind the net drew Kuemper down to the ice, Konecny’s elevated shot made it to the back of the net. 2-1 Flyers after 20.
5. Dmitry Orlov took the Capitals’ third tripping penalty on Owen Tippett of the game with 5:27 left in the second period. The second period had been all Flyers, so they really didn’t need any help in the momentum department. Thankfully, the Washington penalty kill once again held the Flyers to one shot on the power play opportunity.
6. The Capitals have been one of the best second period teams in the league this season, but it did not show tonight. The Flyers maintained control for pretty much the whole 20 minutes. Washington struggled to generate their own scoring chances, and Carter Hart was all over the puck when they did. They were over-passing the puck and making things too complicated, leading to turnovers in favor of Philly. The Caps are 3-8-2 this season when trailing after two periods, which does not bode well for the rest of the game.
7. 5:31 into the third, the Flyers extended their lead to 3-1 with a goal from Owen Tippett off the rush. Tippett, using Alex Alexeyev as a screen, fired an outrageous snapshot from the top of the right circle that beat Kuemper glove-side.
8. The Capitals got their first power play opportunity of the night when Tony DeAngelo was called for slashing on Sonny Milano at 6:38 of the third. There was a goal scored 1:07 into DeAngelo’s penalty, but unfortunately it was a Philly shorty. Laughton picked off a pass along the boards from Erik Gustafsson and got a two-on-one going with Konecny, who finished the play with his second goal of the night. 4-1 Flyers.
9. Marcus Johansson got one back for the Caps at 9:18 of the third after capitalizing on a horrible pass from Ivan Provorov in the Flyers’ zone. Provorov presumably went to send a cross-ice pass to his defensive partner, but he did not realize MoJo was there instead. Hart was caught flatfooted on the shot because he probably thought the puck was well on its way out of the zone, and Johansson got his 11th of the season.
Chipping away at Philly's lead— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 12, 2023
Johansson with a goal off of a careless Flyers turnover.
4-2 Flyers pic.twitter.com/2oJhz2dasP
10. With 8:24 left, Kuznetsov took his second trip to the penalty box of the night after an offensive-zone slashing penalty on Travis Konecny. Fortunately for Kuzy, his team bailed him out on the PK and kept Philadelphia from extending their lead. Still 4-2 Flyers with just over six minutes to go.
11. T.J. Oshie made it a one-goal game with his eighth of the season with 5:18 left. More importantly, Nicklas Backstrom recorded his first point of the season with the primary assist on the tally. Martin Fehervary found Backstrom with a sweet pass, and Backstrom fed Oshie perfectly for a backhander past Hart.
don't call it a comeback!!!— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 12, 2023
a gorgeous Osh backhander to tighten the gap.
4-3 Flyers pic.twitter.com/lIUzFmcxEj
This was an excellent play from Backstrom, who drew two Flyers to him to free up some space for Oshie. 4-3 Philly.
12. With 1:19 left, Oshie took Washington’s fifth penalty of the game with a hooking call on Joel Farabee. With Washington’s net empty, Travis Konecny completed the hat trick with 12.3 seconds to go to seal the 5-3 win for the Flyers.
Up next for the Caps: the second half of this home-and-home with the Flyers at Capital One Arena this Saturday at 7pm ET.