Washington Capitals sweep Flyers

The Washington Capitals have been playing their best hockey of late and that play continued on Saturday night in their third straight win over the Flyers and their fourth straight win overall. The final was 5-4 and much like Thursday, the Caps got contributions up and down the lineup.

The Caps struck first at 4:40 with a backhanded goal from Daniel Sprong that trickled past Flyers goalie Brian Elliott for his fifth goal of the season. Jakub Vrana and Evgeny Kuznetsov had the helpers.

The Caps doubled their lead at 13:21 with Carl Hagelin positioning himself in front of the net to deflect in a shot from Nick Jensen for his third of the season. Garnet Hathaway had the secondary assist.

2-0 was the score after one with the Caps leading in shots 9-8.

The Flyers got on the board at 2:36 with a goal from James van Riemsdyk. The Caps would answer 29 seconds later with Jensen racing to chase down a puck and sniping it home for his second of the year. Hagelin had the assist.

Nolan Patrick would make it a one goal game at 5:47. The Caps would get a power play opportunity at 11:48 when Travis Sanheim was called for holding Hathaway. On the attack, Alex Ovechkin sniped one home from the office to make it 4-2 at 13:10. Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson had the helpers and it was Ovechkin’s 716th of his career. He trails only Phil Espositio by one for sixth in NHL history.

The Caps took a 4-2 lead into the locker room despite being outshot 15-7.

The Caps made it 5-2 at 4:25 when Nic Dowd deflected in a shot from Hathaway for his sixth of the season. Carlson had the secondary assist.

The Flyers would make this a game by scoring two goals. First from Shayne Gostisbehere at 13:07 and then Claude Giroux at 17:03 but the Caps would hang on for the 5-4 win. The Flyers outshot the Caps 9-7 in the third and 32-23 overall but Ilya Samsonov made 28 saves for an .875 save percentage.

The win didn’t come without cost as Lars Eller suffered a lower body injury. He was out the previous game due to a family matter. Peter Laviolette said after the game that Eller is day to day “right now.”

Laviolette also heaped praise on Nick Jensen. Laviolette said via Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic: 

“He has been excellent. His defense has been excellent. Because he skates well and he has good skills, he’s able to contribute offensively. As I’ve said the same rules apply for all of the defensemen. He’s active and he’s looking to create. His goal tonight was a real beauty. I know when players are feeling good, confidence usually plays into it. He’s been outstanding, both defensively and offensively.”

The Caps are heading to Buffalo for a Monday contest against the Sabres. The next night they’ll return home to host the New York Islanders.