Hayes Scores Shorthanded, Flyers Knock Off NHL-Best Capitals
Moments after thinking he should have drawn a penalty, Sean Couturier headed to the penalty box and put Washington on their third power play of the game. On a road trip where what could go wrong, did go wrong, it seemed ripe for the Flyers to finally be dealt a blow on home ice.
Instead, the Flyers got the goal that ultimately decided the game. Kevin Hayes scored on a shorthanded breakaway to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead that they would hold through the remainder of the game, snapping a four-game losing streak on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center with a win against the NHL's top team, the Washington Capitals.
There was plenty of action in the first period with each team getting two goals. The Flyers got it started at 3:24. Following a good play by Couturier to force a turnover along the boards, he centered for Travis Konecny, who fired a shot over the shoulder of Braden Holtby for the opening goal for the second straight night, his 14th of the season.
Washington struck back at 7:11. Alex Ovechkin came in on the forecheck and forced a turnover from Travis Sanheim behind the Flyers net. Tom Wilson picked up the loose puck and centered for Nicklas Backstrom, who fired quickly and had the shot go off the arm of Carter Hart and in to make it 1-1.
The Capitals took the lead on a delayed penalty call at 12:34. Michal Kempny took a long shot that Hart could not control and Evgeny Kuznetsov drew a penalty picking up the rebound. He centered to a wide open Jakub Vrana in the slot and he fired high through a screen to beat Hart and make it 2-1 with his 19th of the season.
The Flyers got the game's first power play with under three minutes left and failed to score. But they did strike in the final minute of the period to even things back up. Off an attempted wraparound by Michael Raffl, the puck came out to Robert Hagg at the point and he fired through a screen and scored to tie the game with 41.5 seconds remaining.
Shots through 20 minutes were 13-8 Flyers.
The second period featured much more physicality from both sides. Washington carried the territorial edge early and started peppering Hart with shots, opening up a 9-0 advantage in the period.
During the period, the Flyers had to kill three Washington power plays. Almost immediately after successfully killing off a delay of game penalty to Mikhail Vorobyev, Couturier went to the box for slashing moments after taking a high-stick from Wilson. With Couturier and the fans irate at the call, Hayes made his mark on the game by getting the only goal of the period, going to the backhand on a shorthanded breakaway to make it 3-2 with his 13th goal of the season.
The Flyers were held to just three shots in the period compared to 11 for the Capitals, but exited the second period with the lead.
In the third, the Flyers penalty kill was put to work again, having to kill off two more Washington power play. Finally, with 2:36 to play, the Flyers went to the power play and were able to let the final moments tick away.
Hart finished with 26 saves on 28 shots. Holtby made 24 saves on 27 shots.
The Flyers return to home ice again on Saturday night when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7 p.m.
- PHI Travis Konecny (14) (Sean Couturier) 3:24
- WSH Nicklas Backstrom (9) (Tom Wilson) 7:11
- WSH Jakub Vrana (19) (Evgeny Kuznetsov, Michal Kempny) 12:34
- PHI Robert Hagg (1) (Michael Raffl, Phil Myers) 19:18
- PHI Kevin Hayes (13) SH (Unassisted) 17:59
- No Scoring