PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Claude Giroux, Scott Laughton and Sean Couturier each scored two goals to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to an 8-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux and Valtteri Filppula also scored for the Flyers in their home opener. The Flyers won a home opener for the 28th time in 50 games.
Brian Elliott rebounded from a dismal six-goal outing against Nashville to stop 21 shots and win for the third time this season.
NHL leading scorer Alex Ovechkin failed to record a goal or assist for just the second time in six games. He failed to score a goal in last year’s season series against the Flyers for the first time in 12 seasons.
Whatever the Flyers are doing to slow down one of the top players in the NHL, it’s working.
Philly’s offense was pretty good, too.
The Flyers scored three times in the second period and two each in the first and third, playing nothing like the team that missed the playoffs last season.
Jakub Vrana and Nicklas Backstrom scored goals for Washington.
Simmonds’ fifth goal of the season came on the power play just minutes into the second period to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead. Simmonds, the NHL’s third star of the week, is just four goals behind Ovechkin for the league lead.
Giroux followed midway through the second to make it 4-1. Backstrom made it 4-2 while Giroux’s goal — which put him 15th on the team’s career list — was still being announced to the crowd. No worries about the quick give back. Filppula took a feed from Jordan Weal and flipped it over Phillip Grubauer for a 5-2 lead.
Laughton, Couturier and Giroux sealed the win in the third with their second goals of the game.
Laughton was all alone after he stole the puck and forced Grubauer to miscalculate and attempt a diving swipe at the puck in the circle. He whiffed and Laughton was alone for the empty-netter and a 2-1 lead with just 62 seconds left in the first.
Couturier’s second goal of the season came off a rebound of his own shot early in the period. Vrana evened the score off Evgeny Kuznetsov’s sweet backhand pass with his second goal of the season.
The Capitals put No. 1 defenseman Matt Niskanen on long-term injured reserve with an upper-body injury. The team says Niskanen is week-to-week. On LTIR, he must miss 10 games and 24 days, which means Niskanen isn’t eligible to return until Nov. 7 at Buffalo.
Without him, the Caps were a mess in the defensive zone and Grubauer couldn’t stave off the Flyers.
NOTES: The Flyers played the first game of a five-game homestand. … The Flyers and Minnesota were the last teams to play a home opener. … With Niskanen out, Washington recalled 22-year-old defenseman Madison Bowey from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. … Ovechkin needed 18 games last season to score nine goals. … Filppula played in his 800th career game.
Washington: Host Toronto on Tuesday.
Philadelphia: Host Florida on Tuesday.
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