PHILADELPHIA -- Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday night at the Wells Fargo Center:
Pivotal play I: Ruslan Fedotenko was left uncovered at the left side of the post for a tap-in from Kimmo Timonen with 1:34 gone in the overtime period.
Pivotal play II: With 9.5 seconds remaining in regulation and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov pulled for the extra attacker, Timonen sent the game into overtime with a rising slapshot from the point that sailed past Braden Holtby’s glove hand.
Pivotal play III: With 5:04 gone in the third period and the score tied, Caps rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy drilled Flyers captain Claude Giroux with a clean, hard, open-ice hit. Jacob Voracek raced to Giroux’s defense and got into his first NHL fight against Oleksy. Voracek received two minutes for instigation and another two minutes for instigation while wearing a visor. Ironically, Oleksy is playing without a visor for the first time in his career so that he does not get called for that penalty. On the ensuing four-minute power play the Caps got goals from Marcus Johansson and Alex Ovechkin to take control of the game.
What it means: By picking up one point the Capitals moved into a 10th place tie with Carolina in the East standings with 34 points, one behind the Islanders and Rangrs.. The Caps failed to get to .500 for the fourth time this season. The Caps are also four points behind the Southeast Division-leading Winnipeg Jets with one game in hand.
Game breakdown: The Caps owned the first 10 minutes of play and Nicklas Backstrom gave them a 1-0 lead when he tipped in a point shot by Jack Hillen for his sixth goal of the season and third in six games. The Flyers tied it on their first scoring chance when Max Talbot netted his fifth of the season from the slot, then took a 2-1 lead on Matt Read’s breakaway goal [low, gloveside] with 5:05 left in the first period. Mike Green scored the only goal of the second period, busting out of the penalty box and catching a long pass from Brooks Laich and beating Ilya Bryzgalov stickside for his own breakaway goal, his second game-tying goal in as many nights.
Faceoff violation: With 4:08 remaining the first period Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds was called for goalie interference and on the ensuing faceoff Claude Giroux was called for a faceoff violation for moving the puck with his hand, a new penalty this season. Even though 3 seconds expired on the clock, the clock was reset, giving the Caps a full 2 minutes of 5-on-3. Here’s where things get interesting. According to an off-ice NHL official, if the Caps had scored on the power play, the Flyers would have been given a choice as to which player could be released from the penalty box. Since Giroux is the better penalty killer the Flyers likely would have chosen him, even though his penalty came after Simmonds.
What two-man advantage?: Including Sunday night the Caps have had 7:57 of 5-on-3 play this season and have just one goal. Ilya Bryzgalov recorded the save of the gave when he went post to post to stop Troy Brouwer on a cross-ice feed from Mike Ribeiro.
Top PP a curse?: The Flyers [24.8] and Caps [24.1] entered the game ranked 1-2 in the NHL on the power play this season. Since the 1967 expansion only one team has led the league in power-play percentage and missed the playoffs -- the 2006-07 Montreal Canadiens.
What’s next: The Caps caught a flight for Raleigh, N.C., where they’ll practice on Monday and play their third game in four nights on Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, their final game before Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline. The Caps are 2-1-0 against the Canes this season, winning 3-0 and 3-2 and losing 4-0. Following Tuesday nights’ game in Raleigh the Caps finish with eight of 12 at Verizon Center.