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Hart shines, but Flyers fall in shootout to Capitals

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So ends a promising winning streak, but thus continues a point getting streak!

© Heather Barry

The Flyers’ luck in the shootout has come crashing back down to earth, gang.

T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored while Braden Holtby denied Sean Couturier’s shootout-extending bid as the Capitals beat the Flyers, 2-1, on Wednesday night from the Wells Fargo Center.

The loss ended the Flyers’ four-game winning streak, though they did pickup a point in a seventh-straight game in defeat. Loser points for everyone!


Early on the Flyers struggled with immense forechecking and pressure from the Capitals as they had the better of the play, but nothing dangerous towards Carter Hart in the early going.

It would pay dividends by way of the first goal of the game for the Caps before long. John Carlson got a puck to the net and Brendan Leipsic corralled the loose puck and deposited behind Hart to make it 1-0 just 6:13 in.

Not an ideal start for the boys in search of a fifth straight win.

With the Flyers doing everything but that hockey, Hart came up with a key save to keep it 1-0 by robbing Richard Panik in front. The momentum was short-lived as Matt Niskanen would take a penalty right after, but the Flyers’ suddenly excellent penalty kill did the job.

At least Hart was in the game in the first, denying Leipsic of a second goal late in the frame.

A Jakub Vrana slashing penalty would be squandered as the Flyers generated zone time, but not much towards Holtby in their first power play attempt of the night. Travis Sanheim would give the Caps another power play with 57 seconds left in the first, carrying over to the second.

Vrana nearly got his revenge early in the second as he beat Hart, but not the crossbar as the puck ricocheted out.

Panik at the penalty box (!) as the Flyers looked to get back even with a key power play chance a little over six minutes into the second. Like most everything the Flyers did thus far, there was nothing of note in the two minute advantage.

Nothing of note was a pretty good summary for both teams through 30 minutes, actually. Sure the Caps were the better team by far, but they weren’t exactly invoking fears of Gretzky’s Oilers out there.

With 4:52 left in the second the Flyers looked like they were finally about to breakthrough, but Travis Konecny’s wrist shot rang off the pipe behind Holtby. By far the best scoring chance of the night, but no dice. Next shift Tyler Pitlick had a spinning chance of his own, but Holtby’s pad was there for this bid.

Tyler, my guy. Maybe just use the backhand next time? Like Pitlick’s season, there were no goals in that period.

After picking up their game to end the second, the Flyers started the third period with some jump but again couldn’t penetrate Holtby despite a few good early chances. Also not helping is the Flyers passing up good chances on odd-man rushes like Claude Giroux attempting an impossible pass despite an open shooting lane.

With 13:45 left and still scoreless, the Flyers would head to their third power play with Nic Dowd off for table-topping Niskanen behind Hart. The third time would be the charm as Jakub Voracek would split the defense and slide the puck over to Giroux to beat Holtby and tie things up at 1-1. It’s Giroux’s fifth of the season, with Ivan Provorov getting the other assist.

That’s hot.

Finally tied up and seeing his team with life, Hart held down the fort after a push from the Caps with 3:49 left. That guy’s good.

Another late flurry from the Caps would test Hart once again, but the 21-year-old was there to turn away a glorious chance from Tom Wilson before the horn sounded on regulation.

A rarity early in overtime as Alain Vigneault took a timeout just 1:02 in to give his group a breather after a wild first minute. It would pay off as the Flyers would control play for much of the next two minutes while keeping a tired Caps group out.

Nothing would be doing though as neither club could find an overtime winner and the shootout would be needed.

In round one of the shootout Voracek missed on the backhand for the Flyers. For the Caps, T.J. Oshie would beat Hart for a 1-0 lead.

In round two, it was Giroux scoring for the Flyers. For the Caps, Evgeny Kuznetsov would beat Hart to make it 2-1.

In round three, Sean Couturier would miss and give the Capitals the shootout and a 2-1 win.


Three stars

1. Carter Hart

Hart kept the Flyers in this one all night long, and deserved a better fate for his services. In the end, 35 saves on 36 shots for the Flyers’ backstop as he out-dueled Holtby everywhere but the shootout.

2. Braden Holtby

Holtby was no slouch in his own right in making 30 saves on 31 shots, but making a key save on Couturier’s deciding shootout bid. Hart was the better netminder in this one, though it wasn’t by much.

3. Claude Giroux

The Flyers’ captain was dangerous for most of the night and potted a goal in regulation and a slick shootout goal to help extend hopes of keeping the five-game winning streak alive.


GIF of the night

Just sick.