Capitals Vs. Flyers: Caps Blow 3-0 Lead, But Escape With 5-4 Shootout Win Over Flyers, Clinch Playoff Berth

The Capitals entered hostile territory without Alex Ovechkin Tuesday, and despite blowing a 3-0 lead, left Philadelphia with a 5-4 shootout win and a playoff berth.

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Capitals Vs. Flyers: Caps Blow 3-0 Lead, But Escape With 5-4 Shootout Win, Clinch Playoff Berth

The Washington Capitals entered Tuesday's game with the Philadelphia Flyers shorthanded. Missing captain Alex Ovechkin among others, the Caps would have to find their offense elsewhere. The Caps did just that, but despite blowing a 3-0 lead, they left Philadelphia with something that they didn't come with: a playoff spot.

Marcus Johansson's late goal in the third period stopped a run of four unanswered goals by Philadelphia and Alexander Semin's shootout winner lifted the Caps to a 5-4 victory over the Flyers. With the victory, the Caps clinched their fourth consecutive trip to the playoffs.

Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble and Dennis Wideman would give Washington a 3-0 lead, but Kris Versteeg and Claude Giroux would help the Flyers cut it to 3-2 after two periods.Things wouldn't get better for the Caps in the third period when Giroux tipped Jeff Schultz's clearing attempt and Andreas Nodl pounced on the loose puck to tie the game at 3-3 at 9:58. The meltdown would continue when Daniel Briere deflected a Kimmo Timmonen slap shot past Michal Neuvirth (29 saves) at 14:15 to give the Flyers a 4-3 lead.

With time running out in the game, Johansson scored the tying goal on a one-timer from Mike Knuble with less than four minutes remaining. A scoreless overtime led to a shootout, where Backstrom and Matt Hendricks would trade goals with Ville Leino and Briere. With the shootout tied at 2-2, Semin beat Brian Boucher, who entered the game in the second period after Sergei Bobrovsky would allow three goals on nine shots, to win the game for Washington.

With the victory, the Caps improve to 26-0-2 when leading after two periods and clinch a playoff spot with eight games remaining in the regular season. They, however, did not claim a share of first place because of the shootout win. The Flyers remain one point ahead of the Caps in the Eastern Conference standings.

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Capitals Vs. Flyers: Caps Lose 3-0 Lead, But Still Lead 3-2 After Two Periods

Just when it looked like the Capitals had put a stranglehold on the Flyers, Philadelphia loosened the grip.

The Flyers would score two unanswered goals after Washington went up 3-0 early and the Caps lead 3-2 after 40 minutes.

Dennis Wideman scored his 10th goal of the season at 1:22 after yet another puck somehow found a hole through Sergei Bobrovsky. Nicklas Backstrom found Wideman at the right point. Wideman would then fire a slap shot that may have been deflected on the way to the net and it squeezed through Bobrovsky's right arm to give Washington a 3-0 lead. It was Wideman's league-leading ninth power play goal from a defenseman, but it was only the Caps' 41st power play goal of the season after they had 79 last year. Bobrovsky would then be pulled in favor of Brian Boucher.

The Flyers would respond at 8:05 when Kris Versteeg looked for Andreas Nodl in front, but it would bank off of Wideman's skate instead and past Michal Neuvirth. With 34 seconds left in the period, Claude Giroux would cut the lead to 3-2 from a one-timer off of a slap pass from Nodl. The fake shot fooled Neuvirth, who went down to stop it before Nodl made the pass. Neuvirth was powerless to stop Giroux's shot and literally froze in the crease as Giroux's 24th goal of the season crossed the goal line.

The Flyers once again outshot the Caps 10-7 in the second period and have a 20-14 advantage for the game.

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Capitals Vs. Flyers Score: Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble Give Caps 2-0 Lead

No Alex Ovechkin, no problem thus far for the Washington Capitals against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Capitals have taken advantage of some struggles by Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and lead 2-0 after one period of play. Nicklas Backstrom got the Capitals on the board early, and Mike Knuble scored late off a nifty pass by Jason Chimera.

Backstrom got things going just before the 12-minute mark when he lofted a soft shot from the blue line that somehow got by Bobrovsky for a 1-0 lead. The goal was Backstrom's 18th of the season. The Capitals then killed a Flyers penalty and got a second goal when Marcus Johansson found Chimera behind the boards, and Chimera fed it in front to Knuble who scored with his stick. The goal was the 20th of the season for Knuble, making it eight straight years with 20+ goals.

Michal Neuvirth has been solid in the first period as well, with 10 saves in the period. A win would put the Capitals in first place in the Eastern Conference.

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Capitals Vs. Flyers: Starting Lineup

Via Brian McNally, below is tonight's starting lineup for the Washington Capitals as they prepare to face off against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.

#Caps Lineup: G Neuvirth. D-pairings: Carlson-Alzner; Schultz-Wideman; Hannan-Erskine. Forwards: 21-19-28; 25-90-22; 18-15-10; 26-83-16.less than a minute ago via web

 

The forward lines translate to Brooks Laich-Nicklas Backsrom-Alexander Semin, Jason Chimera-Marcus Johansson-Mike Knuble, Marco Sturm-Boyd Gordon-Mat Bradley and Matt Hendricks-Jay Beagle-Eric Fehr. Fehr is returning to the lineup after missing two games with a shoulder injury. Fehr missed two months with a shoulder injury after colliding with former teammate David Steckel January 14.

Alex Ovechkin will not play Tuesday while he rests nagging injuries. Mike Green will also not return despite being eligible to come off of long-term injured reserve Tuesday.

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Capitals Vs. Flyers: Michal Neuvirth Will Start, Eric Fehr Could Return

The Washington Capitals will be without captain Alex Ovechkin Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers, but Eric Fehr could make his return to the lineup.

Fehr skated on the fourth line with Matt Hendricks, Jay Beagle and D.J. King during Tuesday's morning skate. Via Washington Post's Katie Carrera, Fehr said that there is a "good chance" he could play Tuesday, but did not commit to the idea. Fehr has missed two games since leaving Washington's 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens March 15 after falling awkwardly on his shoulder, an injury that kept him out for two months after he collided with former teammate David Steckel January 14.

Without Ovechkin, the first line consisted of Brooks Laich, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin. The second featured Jason Chimera, Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble, while the third featured Marco Sturm, Boyd Gordon and Matt Bradley.

Michal Neuvirth will start Tuesday and will be opposed by the Flyers' Sergei Bobrovsky. Neuvirth is 6-2-0 in his last eight games.

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Capitals Vs. Flyers: Caps Head To Philadephia Without Alex Ovechkin, Look To Grab Share Of First Place Against Flyers

The injury bug has been following the Washington Capitals all season. Several players have been sidelined by numerous ailments, but for the first time this season, Alex Ovechkin has succumbed to injury. On Tuesday, the Caps will travel into hostile territory without their captain to face the Philadelphia Flyers with a share of first place in the Eastern Conference on the line.

Ovechkin, who has played in every game this season after missing 10 due to injury and suspension last year, is suffering from undisclosed injuries that have apparently been bothering him for a few months. While head coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't divulge exactly what is wrong with Ovechkin, he did say that he will miss at least seven to 10 days. Ovechkin will join Jason Arnott, Mike Green and Eric Fehr, among others, who are resting injuries.

Washington is the hottest team in the NHL, with a 10-1-0 record in their last 11 games, including 13 of 16 overall. The Capitals are just two points behind the Flyers in the Eastern Conference standings, but Philadelphia has two games in hand. The Caps cannot overtake the Flyers for first place, but can grab a share of it with a win. The Flyers would hold the tiebreaker because they've played fewer games and would have more wins.

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