WASHINGTON (AP) — Nicklas Backstrom scored a power-play goal in overtime to lift the Washington Capitals over the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on Saturday night and extend their franchise-record home winning streak to 15.
Backstrom ended the Capitals’ power-play frustrations by beating Steve Mason 3:25 into overtime for his 20th goal of the season. It came with Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto in the penalty box for holding, the 12th minor penalty of the game.
Dmitry Orlov also scored for NHL-leading Washington, which got 30 saves from Braden Holtby. Mason stopped 22 of 24 shots, while Sean Couturier snapped out of his offensive slump to score Philadelphia’s goal.
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The Flyers went 0 for 6 on the power play and are 0 for 15 this season against the Capitals.
The teams’ playoff series last spring and two contentious recent meetings turned up the intensity from the drop of the puck. Not surprisingly, Capitals disturber extraordinaire Tom Wilson and big Flyers wing Tom Wilson were part of some pushing and shoving in the first minute.
Justin Williams, feisty in facing the team he began his career with, got into it with Philadelphia’s Nick Cousins a couple of shifts later. There were plenty of big hits, extra taps and hard feelings, and Wilson and Simmonds even spent a commercial break jawing at each other on the benches.
When they calmed down with the antics and played hockey, the Capitals and Flyers traded offensive chances at even strength even as they played two periods without a goal.
Philadelphia finally cracked Holtby 1:19 into the third period when Couturier redirected a pass from Matt Read into the net for his first goal since Feb. 2. The lead lasted just 81 seconds until Orlov busted in over the blue line and fired a long-range shot that beat Mason clean at 2:40 of the third.
Mason made a series of jaw-dropping saves over the course of the game, including one with his mask in overtime. But there wasn’t much he could do on Backstrom’s 4-on-3 winner, when the Swedish center snapped a shot from near the right faceoff dot.
NOTES: Capitals RW T.J. Oshie returned after missing nine games with an upper-body injury. Top-line mates Alex Ovechkin and Backstrom combined for one point in Oshie’s absence. … Flyers F Travis Konecny returned after missing nine games with a leg injury, playing on the fourth line as coach Dave Hakstol
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