Wrap: Flyers Follow Familiar Script in 5-3 Loss in Washington
The Philadelphia Flyers suffered their eighth straight loss (0-6-2) since the Christmas break as they fell to the Washington Capitals, 5-3, at the Capital One Center on Tuesday night. The game followed a pattern that has been all-too-familiar for the Flyers this season when they've played against upper-echelon competition.
The Flyers played a good first period but were unable to take a lead to intermission (tied 1-1). The second period started out decently but then the wheels fell off as it progressed and the team found itself in a three-goal hole (4-1) at the second intermission. In the third period, the Flyers had three power play opportunities fall by the wayside with a chance to still make a game of it. Then Philly made a late comeback bid that went for naught. Washington scored two empty-net goals -- one overturned on a challenge for an offside, the latter of which came in the final few ticks of the clock and counted -- to make it a 5-3 final.
Jakub Vrana scored even-strength and power play goals (12th and 13th) for Washington after assisting on the game's first goal back in the first period. Tom Wilson (13th) opened the scoring and later lost a would-be empty netter to an offside challenge. T.J. Oshie tallied an even strength deflection goal and added a shorthanded empty netter (12th and 13th) at 19:57 of the third period; officially the 7th shorthanded goal the Flyers have given up this season.
Pheonix Copley got the start in goal for Washington. He faced a lot of rubber and was tested more than St. Louis rookie goalie Jordan Binnington was in shutting out the Flyers in his NHL debut on Monday night. Copley stopped 37 of 40 shots overall.
The Flyers tied an NHL record on Tuesday as 35-year-old veteran Mike McKenna became the seventh different goaltender to appear (and also to start and to be charged with a loss) in a game for the team this season. He made some good stops along the way and wasn't given chance at a save on two of the goals. The third was a breakaway for Vrana.
Vrana's goal on an attempted cross-crease pass that actually went off McKenna and into the net was a rough one for the team, turning a 3-1 game into a 4-1 game. Overall, McKenna stopped 22 of 26 shots. The journeyman wasn't a prime cause of the loss.
Special teams hurt the Flyers in this game; another recurring theme.
They went 3-for-4 on the penalty kill and the Vrana goal was a fluky one -- but ill-timed, especially because it was yet another goal the Flyers have allowed this season when they gave up one less than two minutes earlier.
The power play was what really hurt the Flyers in this game. They went 0-for-5, and several of the man advantages saw them struggle to get set up at all. When they did get set up, shots would miss the net or passes would get intercepted and cleared.
The Flyers got a goal (11th) and two assists (23rd and 24th) from Jakub Voracek, but he also came out on the wrong end of some crucial puck battles. The Voracek goal was scored from the left slot and set up by a nice feed from Oskar Lindblom after Lindblom intercepted a Washington pass in the neutral zone.
Wayne Simmonds (13th) scored on a second effort opportunity off a Voracek feed to cut the gap to 4-2 at 16:33 of the third period. After the overturned offside empty net bid by Wilson, Claude Giroux found the net (14th) on a one-timer to momentarily make it 4-3 but with just six seconds left on the clock. Voracek and Sean Couturier got assists on the two goals.
For more about Tuesday's loss, click here
. The Flyers (15-22-6) will have a complete off-day on Wednesday. On Thursday, they will host Jim Montgomery's Dallas Stars (23-17-4)) at the Wells Fargo Center. Dallas has struggled overall on the road this season (9-12-2) -- a common theme for them in recent years -- but are coming off a 3-1 win over the Blues in St. Louis on Tuesday. The Stars are presently in third place in the Central Division.