That’s more like it.
For the third straight game, the Washington Capitals found themselves with a lead in the third period. This time, they played hard enough in the final 20 minutes to make sure it didn’t slip away.
Wojtek Wolski scored a decisive breakaway goal, and Nicklas Backstrom added a goal and an assist as Washington held on to take down the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 at the Verizon Center on Friday night. The win snapped a two-game losing streak or the Caps, who blew third period leads in Ottawa and Toronto earlier in the week.
The lead on Friday was bigger and later in the game thanks to Wolski, who scored his second of the season on a terrific individual play to make it 3-1 with just over 13 minutes to play. With Luke Schenn fumbling a puck after a faceoff, Wolski poked it away from him and went in alone on Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, beating him with a backhand shot.
Philly was still able to make it interesting down the stretch, cutting the lead to one with 9:30 to go. Matt Read‘s wrister from the circle hit both posts, but it settled right in front of Brayden Schenn to tap home for his first score of the year.
Backstrom’s goal was also on a breakaway, knotting the game at one apiece after a sloppy change by the Flyers in the second period. Troy Brouwer also scored for the Capitals, while Bruno Gervais found the net for the first time in a Philadelphia uniform. Braden Holtby recorded his first win of the season in net for the Caps, making 29 saves on 31 shots.
Both teams finished the game short on forwards. Washington’s John Erskine smashed Wayne Simmonds with what appeared to be an intentional elbow late in the first period, and the Flyers winger did not return to the game. Perhaps angered that the play was not whistled for a penalty, Philly’s Zac Rinaldo fought with Matt Hendricks once the action restarted. But the two men jumped the gun on the faceoff, and were both given game misconducts as a result.
The victory moves the Caps out of the Eastern Conference basement, where the Flyers will replace them for the time being. Washington stays at home to face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.
The game was over when…
Wolski scored his breakaway goal, since Bryzgalov was solid on almost every other kind of shot he faced. The way the Caps have been playing in third periods, a one goal lead didn’t feel like enough. It wasn’t, but Wolski made sure Washington had a lead that was big enough to hold up.
The unsung Capitals hero was…
Defenseman Mike Green, who showed glimpses of his old high-scoring self. Green made an excellent diagonal pass to find Brouwer for his goal, and he jumped up effectively to join the rush on more than one occasion. He also teamed with several other players to set up Ovechkin for a steady stream of one-time opportunities on the power play.