Flyers rough up Caps

Flyers rough up Caps
February 27, 2013, 10:15 pm
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How it happened: Flyers captain Claude Giroux scored on the first shot of the game just 23 seconds into the contest and the Philadelphia power play took over from there, getting goals from Wayne Simmonds and newly acquired Simon Gagne. The Flyers finished things off with an even-strength goal by former Penguins pest Max Talbot. Joel Ward made it 4-1 when he scored his sixth of the season with 2:09 remaining.

What it means: The Caps blew a chance to climb over the Florida Panthers and close within two points of the Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Winnipeg Jets, in the jam-packed Southeast Division.

Grubauer’s debut: It wasn’t something he’s likely to share with his grandchildren some day but Philipp Grubauer saw his first NHL action when Oates decided to replace Braden Holtby after Holtby allowed four goals on 18 shots in 34:55 of action. Grubauer made three difficult saves in a third-period flurry by the Flyers, stopping Sean Couturier once and Simon Gagne twice from close range. Later he came out to take the angle away from Brayden Schenn.

Line shuffling: Early in the second period Caps coach Adam Oates pulled Jason Chimera off the top line with Mike Ribeiro and Alex Ovechkin and replaced him with Matt Hendricks. That left Chimera on a line with Jay Beagle and Joey Crabb. Mathieu Perreault centered a line with Wojtek Wolski and Joel Ward.

Special teams: The Caps were held without a power-play goal [0-for-2] for just the fifth time in 19 games this season. They also allowed two power-play goals for the first time since Feb. 7 when they were thumped by the Penguins. The Caps had killed off 23 of 25 power plays before Wednesday.

February record: The Caps began and ended the month of February with games against the Flyers. They finished the month with a 6-6-0 record. They were 1-5-1 in January.

What’s next: The Capitals return home after the game and are tentatively scheduled to practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex before catching a flight to Winnipeg for Saturday’s game against the Jets. The Caps return to Verizon Center on Tuesday.