Laughton’s Hat Trick, Couturier’s 2 Goals Lift Flyers Over Capitals
The Flyers had their top-line center back in the lineup on Sunday, and while his impact wasn't felt right away, it certainly came through later in the game.
Sean Couturier had two goals, including the game-winner in the third as part of a three-point night, and Scott Laughton pitched in with his first career hat trick in a 7-4 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon.
After a pretty even start for both sides, Washington got the first good opportunity with a power play and let their scoring specialist take over. Alex Ovechkin was left alone on the left side and fired a wrist shot high over Carter Hart to open the scoring.
That goal jumpstarted the Capitals, and Ovechkin was at it again, making a dazzling move on Phil Myers and getting the puck in front. Nicklas Backstrom was able to get a stick on it to get it to Tom Wilson, who put it into an empty net to make it 2-0 Washington with 3:24 remaining in the period.
In the closing minutes, the Flyers found a way to get on the board. Joel Farabee centered the puck and it bounced around before Erik Gustafsson could get a chance that hit the post. The rebound came out into the slot for Laughton with an open net and he buried it to make it a one-goal game.
Through 20 minutes, shots were 15-8 Flyers.
Just 2:29 into the second period, Laughton was at it again, getting another bounce to go his way as Farabee directed the puck to him at the side of the net and he was able to score on Vitek Vanecek again to tie the game at two.
It took just 1:39 for the Capitals to strike back, and it was once again Ovechkin getting the tally. This time, he fired from the blue line along the ice and the shot beat Hart, hit the post and banked in off of Hart to make it 3-2 Washington.
The Flyers got the equalizer just under four minutes later as Robert Hagg fired a blast that beat Vanecek to make it 3-3 at 7:50.
With 3:24 left in the period, James van Riemsdyk struck again, winning a race for a puck and firing a rolling puck over the shoulder of Vanecek. It was van Riemsdyk's 100th goal as a Flyer and it also marked the end of the day for Vanecek, who left after allowing four goals on 14 shots. Craig Anderson entered in relief.
Before the close of the period, the Capitals got the game tied back up at four off a defensive breakdown. With the top line back on the ice, Ovechkin was left open again, and this time got a pass down low to the front of the net where Backstrom was waiting alone. Backstrom took a moment to control the puck, and then beat a sprawling Hart through the legs with 57 seconds remaining in the period.
Through two periods, shots were 30-14 Washington.
Just 31 seconds into the period, Couturier made his presence felt with his first goal of the season. After a hard-working shift, Couturier was in position to fire home a rebound to make it 5-4 Flyers.
The Flyers got at four-minute power-play less than three minutes later, but managed just one shot on the man-advantage.
Late in the game, the Flyers managed to put it away. Laughton got another goal on a rebound from Farabee to complete the hat trick with 2:09 remaining.
With the goalie pulled, Couturier added his second goal of the game into an empty net to cap the scoring with 1:22 remaining.
Hart made 33 saves on 37 shots in the win. Anderson made six saves on eight shots in relief of Vanecek.
Couturier, Laughton and Farabee each had three-point games for the Flyers. van Riemsdyk and Justin Braun each had two points. Ovechkin and Wilson each had four points, and Backstrom had three points.
The Flyers face off against the Capitals again on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.
- WSH Alex Ovechkin (4) PP (Tom Wilson, Lars Eller) 11:11
- WSH Wilson (5) (Nicklas Backstrom, Ovechkin) 16:36
- PHI Scott Laughton (2) (Erik Gustafsson, Joel Farabee) 18:33
- PHI Laughton (3) (Farabee, James van Riemsdyk) 2:29
- WSH Ovechkin (5) (Backstrom, Wilson) 4:08
- PHI Robert Hagg (1) (Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Sean Couturier) 7:50
- PHI van Riemsdyk (7) (Unassisted) 16:36
- WSH Backstrom (6) (Ovechkin, Wilson) 19:03
- PHI Couturier (1) (Michael Raffl, Justin Braun) 0:31
- PHI Laughton (4) (Farabee) 17:51
- PHI Couturier (2) EN (Ivan Provorov, Braun) 18:38
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.