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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.