Capitals clinch first playoff spot in two years with win in Philly

Caps are back in the playoffs!
Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals have clinched the second and final spot in the Eastern Conference Wild Card with a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on the road. Despite a sea of orange there was several red dots of Caps fans who made the trip up. Those fans in left Wells Fargo Center happy and rejuvinated unlike the ones wearing orange and black.

At 18:08 Alex Ovechkin put the Caps up early with his 31st goal of the season to put him 41 away from Wayne Gretzky entering next regular season. Dylan McIlrath and T.J. Oshie had the helpers.

Erik Johnson tied it at 12:29 in the second period in a game that didn't feature a lot of shots. It was a bad period by the Caps but thankfully they came into the locker room at second intermission tied thanks to the play of Charlie Lindgren in goal on zero days rest.

The Flyers, hoping for one last ditch effort at the playoffs, pulled their goalie for an extra attacker late in the game with the score tied at 1. It didn't quite work well for the home team but for the Capitals, T.J. Oshie would break the tie with an empty net goal with 3:00 left to seal the Caps playoff fate. Nic Dowd had the assist.

Shots were even at seven apiece in the first period while the Flyers edged the Caps in shots 8-5 in the second, 13-6 in the third, and 28-18 overall. There was just one penalty called the entire game as Tom Wilson got whistled for tripping at 9:03 in the first period. Lindgren finished with 27 saves.

The playoffs begin on Saturday April 20 and the Caps will draw the top seeded New York Rangers which feature Washington's bench boss just one year ago in Peter Laviolette at the helm in the Big Apple.

The series will start at Madison Square Garden for Games 1 and 2 before the series shifts to Capital One Arena for Games 3 and 4. The Capitals did what a lot of folks thought they couldn't do at the trade deadline: make it to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now they look to play and embrace the underdog role in the craziest seven game series tournmaent in sports.