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Capitals score 2 goals in 3rd, top Flyers 3-2


Capitals score 2 goals in 3rd, top Flyers 3-2

WASHINGTON (AP) Troy Brouwer and Wojtek Wolksi scored third-period goals, and Braden Holtby made 29 saves in the Washington Capitals' 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night.

Niklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist for Washington (2-5-1), which had lost two straight.

Defenseman Bruno Gervais, and Brayden Schenn scored for the Flyers (2-6), who have lost three in a row.

Brouwer's third goal of the season at 3:57 of the third snapped a tie and put the Capitals ahead for good. He took a pass in the left circle from Mike Green and wristed a shot over goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's shoulder.

Less than three minutes later, Wolksi poked the puck away from defenseman Luke Schenn at the blue line, skated in alone, and beat Bryzgalov to make it 3-1.

The Flyers got back within a goal with 9:30 remaining when Brayden Schenn beat Holtby with a shot from the left circle.

The Capitals held on behind Holtby, who made his first start since Jan. 22. Bryzgalov finished with 23 saves.

The Flyers took a 1-0 lead when Gervais knocked a loose puck past Holtby at 11:43 of the second period for his first goal with the Flyers.

Washington tied it six minutes later. John Carlson poked the puck from Sean Couturier right to Backstrom, who was trailing the play. Backstrom broke in alone and lifted a backhanded shot over Bryzgalov's glove with 2:18 remaining in the second.

The Capitals, who came in off a 3-2 loss on Thursday at Toronto, dominated early against Philadelphia - which hadn't played since losing at the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

Midway through the first period, the Capitals held a 10-2 edge in shots, but Bryzgalov kept the game scoreless.

He made several tough saves, his best on a backhand attempt off the stick of Alex Ovechkin, who was alone in front after a feed from Wolski.

Late in the first period, Washington's John Erskine caught Wayne Simmonds in the face with an elbow that sent Simmonds to the ice with a bloody nose. No penalty was called, but Simmonds didn't return to the game.

Before the ensuing faceoff, Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo fought Matt Hendricks. Both players were ejected from the game.

NOTES: The Capitals were 0 for 5 on the power play. The Flyers were 0 for 3. . Former Capitals forward Mike Knuble made his return to Washington. The 40-year-old Knuble, who spent the previous three seasons with Washington, and signed with Philadelphia on Jan. 25.

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Capitals daily quote: 'You can't be half in'

Capitals daily quote: 'You can't be half in'

The Capitals have a lot to lament after Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat in Edmonton. They’re still not scoring. The special teams are still struggling. And the second periods, well, they haven’t been great.

But it has also become clear what’s irking Coach Barry Trotz the most. And it’s not poor execution.  

“We've got the right elements to do what we can do. But there has to be a level of everybody [being] all in. You can’t be half in. I know there’s a lot of games in the regular season. But there’s a lot good teams, and we saw a good one tonight in the Edmonton Oilers. They played very well. You can’t let your foot off the gas in this league or you find yourself in a hole sometimes.”

It’s not hard to decipher what Trotz is getting at. He wants better focus and commitment from certain individuals as the team heads to Vancouver for a Saturday night meeting with the Canucks.

RELATED: Who's hot and who's not?

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Who's hot and who's not: Ice cold special teams mask good starts from Ovechkin, Sanford

Who's hot and who's not: Ice cold special teams mask good starts from Ovechkin, Sanford

Once a week this season, we’re going to take a closer look at the numbers and point out a trends that every Capital fan should know about.  


Alex Ovechkin

By his own admission, the Capitals’ captain hasn’t been perfect. But he’s doing something no one else has managed: he’s scoring consistently. In fact, Ovechkin has tallied in four consecutive contests after going pointless in the first two. It’s Ovi’s longest goal streak since Feb. 7-13 of last season (also four games).    

Zach Sanford

The rookie is still looking for his first goal. But he’s been dangerous around the next in each of the Capitals’ last two games. The Oilers' Cam Talbot absolutely robbed Sanford with a splendid pad save midway through the second period on Wednesday. Hunch here is that he’ll get one sooner rather than later.

Blue line point production

The Capitals’ offensive punch (or lack thereof) has been a storyline through the first six games. In fact, they have mustered only 14 goals, which is tied for 26th entering Thursday’s games. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but this much is also clear: the defensemen are doing more than their fair share. All six of them have recorded at least one assist, and Matt Niskanen has a team-leading four helpers after picking up the primary on Ovi’s goal Wednesday night.



Power play

A top-five unit a year ago, the Capitals’ power play has fallen on hard times so far this season. In fact, it’s all the way down in 28th, having connected on just two of 19 opportunities. The two goals, by the way, came against a tired Avalanche team. The unit has gone 0 for 6 since.

Penalty kill

This was a top-two unit a year ago, and it’s now scuffling (statistically, at least) as much as the power play. It’s given up a goal in five of the first six games, including one in Edmonton, and is burried in 25th place (72.2-percent). Coach Barry Trotz pointed out Wednesday night that it’s a small sample size, but he also noted that the unit can do a better job of blocking shots, filling lanes and coming up with critical saves at big moments.

Tom Wilson

The fourth liner is the only Capital who’s suited up for all six games but is still looking for his first point. Sanford and Brett Connolly also have goose eggs, but they’ve played in four and two games, respectively. It’s time for Wilson to get on the board.