The Capitals have now played five straight games that have ended with the same score. As statistically odd as that may sound, no one who roots for Washington will complain with that repetitive final count on Friday night. A raucous crowd at Verizon Center got the chance to hoot and holler, and when a 3-2 decision went their way, they loved it doubly since it was the rival Flyers who would fall.
The first period went by scoreless but not without its share of fireworks. Ilya Bryzgalov has been the Flyers best player in the first two weeks of the season and he was mighty fine early in this one.
The Caps tested him right off the bat on a couple of power-play chances, but the massive netminder had the answer for a few bullets from Alex Ovechkin.
John Erskine caught Flyer forward Wayne Simmonds with a high forearm to the nose with just less than two minutes remaining in the opening period. There was no penalty on the play, but Simmonds’ nose was bloodied and he looked wobbly on his way off the ice. (Simmonds would play only 5:07 for the night and did not return after that hit)
The Flyers were livid that there was no penalty on the play. On the ensuing faceoff, Zac Rinaldo lined up opposite of Matt Hendricks with malice in mind. The two dropped the gloves once they both thought the puck had been dropped for the faceoff. Trouble was, the linesman held the puck in his hand, not happy with the two centers fencing for it. It was too late to stop the fight, which landed both players with five minute majors and game misconducts, the latter the result of fighting before play had been re-started.
Bruno Gervais would give the visitors the lead on the scoreboard midway through period two. He moved in from the point to get involved on a down-low cycle play and wound up jamming a feed from Danny Briere past Braden Holtby in the Washington net.
The Caps would knot the score thanks to a badly-timed line-change by the Flyers. At least three Philadelphia players would be heading off to the bench assuming the puck was going deep in the Caps zone. Instead, it was Nick Backstrom who had what amounted to a morning practice breakaway from the red-line in on Bryzgalov. Backstrom made a neat move to the backhand and roofed the shot for a 1-1 draw.
Troy Brouwer gave Washington the lead with a powerful wrist shot early in the third period. It came from a sharp angle, and with Bryzgalov leaning just a bit off the post, hit the twine at 3:57 of the third.
The Caps would get some insurance when Wojtek Wolski would poke the puck loose from Flyer blueliner Luke Schenn, then race in to beat Bryzgalov on the glove side at 6:44.
The Capitals weren’t free and clear yet. Just as a Philly power-play was ending, Matt Read whistled a wrist shot that rang off the post and cross-bar almost simultaneously. The official said no goal, that was until Brayden Schenn promptly tapped home the rebound past Holtby.
Washington would close out the remaining nine and half minutes to secure their second win in eight tries.
It sets the stage for a Super Sunday showdown with Pittsburgh, a game we hope you will enjoy on NBC.