Konecny’s OT goal lifts Flyers past Capitals 2-1
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers are already in playoff mode. That was enough to beat the spotty Washington Capitals.
Travis Konecny scored 27 seconds into overtime, and the surging Flyers beat the Capitals 2-1 on Sunday.
Michael Raffl also scored for Philadelphia, and Brian Elliott had 27 saves. The Flyers, who lost 10 consecutive games earlier in the season, have won three in a row and seven of eight to move into playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
“Coming in here and getting a win, it definitely says something about our character,” Konecny said. “There’s just that vibe in the locker room right now. We really want that playoff opportunity and we’re pushing for it.”
Konecny found space in the middle of the offensive zone and his shot deflected off Washington’s T.J. Oshie and past Braden Holtby for his eighth of the season.
Konecny also scored in Saturday’s 3-1 win against New Jersey. Washington began the day with 18 home wins, tied with the Vegas Golden Knights for the most in the NHL.
“We’re just finding ways to win hockey games,” Konecny said. “It’s a hard road game coming in here and you know they rested yesterday. I don’t know, we’re just keeping things simple and we’re just trusting our abilities.”
Washington has dropped three in a row.
“You’re playing a Philly team that’s playing extremely well right now. They’re in playoff mode,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “There’s not a lot separating first (place) and eighth. Every game is going to be huge. It’s going to get ramped up here.”
Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-best 29th goal, but the Capitals came up empty on several viable scoring chances against Elliott.
“The chances were there. We created lots of chances, lots of opportunities,” Ovechkin said. “We can give the goalie too (many) easy saves. We have to manage the puck better when we have opportunities.”
Elliott and Philadelphia’s defense certainly played a part in keeping Washington’s offense in check.
“Guys were boxing out in front and forcing those shots from the outside. It kind of gets you in a groove and I thought we did that well all night,” Elliott said.
Both teams scored in the second period.
Working from behind Washington’s net, Valtteri Filppula sent a deft pass to Raffl, whose shot from the left slot bounced off Holtby and into the net at 13:48.
Raffl’s ninth goal in his last 26 games topped his total from last season. The left wing did not score in his first 21 games.
The Capitals, who sit third in the East, tied it on Ovechkin’s power-play goal with 15.8 seconds left. With captain Claude Giroux in the box for slashing, John Carlson’s pass set up Ovechkin’s blistering one-timer from just above the left circle.
Despite the loss, Washington sounded upbeat after some recent down performances. The Capitals stymied the Flyers on three power-play chances and did not allow many shots on goal. Holtby made 21 stops.
“I’m not too disappointed. I’m disappointed in the final outcome, but I’m not disappointed in the game,” Trotz said. “There’s a lot to like in our game.”
NOTES: Philadelphia won the first meeting 8-2 on Oct. 14. ... Ovechkin remains one assist shy of 500 for his career. ... Elliott returned to the lineup after G Michal Neuvirth started the previous two games. ... Capitals F Alex Chiasson, who has played in 44 games this season, was a healthy scratch. . Philadelphia is 0 for 12 on the power play over the last four games.
Flyers: Visits Detroit on Tuesday.
Capitals: Visits Florida on Thursday night.
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