Washington choked away a golden opportunity Sunday on their home ice against their fellow division rival Philadelphia Flyers. They were nursing a two-goal lead with just over ten minutes left to play in the third frame. When Orlov committed a five-minute major penalty, the momentum swung in Philly’s direction. The rest was history and the Capitals had a chance at redemption Wednesday night on the road.
It was a totally gutless effort in the first forty minutes from a team that so desperately needed the points. Washington trailed 4-1 at the end of the second period, their only tally was a power play goal by Joel Ward. The game was filled with defensive miscues, which led to easy Flyer goals.
The Capitals were down three goals entering the third frame and Alex Ovechkin cut the deficit to two. His 44th goal of the season came on the power play just over six minutes into the period.
The road team made things interesting just minutes later. Jack Hillen made a crucial mistake earlier in the game at the blue line, which led to a Claude Giroux goal. He made a fantastic pass across to Troy Brouwer for his first point of the season. Hillen made his first appearance since being injured in just the second game of the season. With Brouwer’s 17th goal on the year, the deficit was just one.
Jakub Voracek was quick to respond on a snap shot past Philipp Grubauer. The lead was back to two for the Flyers, but the Caps did not quit.
Mike Green on the power play threw it to the net and Brooks Laich deflected it past Steve Mason for the Capitals fourth goal of the game. There was six minutes left in the match and Washington had hope.
Steve Downie shut the door on a possible comeback with an empty netter below the minute mark. So Washington ended up losing its second consecutive game to Philadelphia 6-4.
It was a nice comeback effort from Washington in the third period, but there is no excuse for their atrocious play in the first forty minutes. They were outshot 23-8 by Philadelphia through two frames and they were dominated physically.
Washington came into this game with a golden opportunity to put themselves back in prime position for the playoffs. This was essentially a four-point game for the Caps and they failed miserably. This game was so important because of the two points they gave away this past Sunday. So in the crucial mini series against the Flyers, the Caps came away with just one point while giving up four.
The Capitals now sit four points behind the Flyers for second place and two points behind the Rangers for third. They sit just one point behind the Blue Jackets for the second wild card spot. Making the wild card will be difficult for the Capitals because they will lose all tiebreakers to the majority of the teams they sit behind. So if Washington wants to make the playoffs, they will need to break through into the top three spots in the Metropolitan Division.
The Caps must put last night’s fallen chance behind them as they are on the road once again to face the Bruins tonight at TD garden. They defeated Boston last Saturday 4-2 in an impressive fashion. They will need that great effort once again so they can jump back into the playoff chase.