By AARON BRACY, Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Wayne Simmonds scored two goals help lift the Philadelphia Flyers past the Washington Capitals 6-3 on Sunday night.
Oskar Lindblom, Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov and Jakub Voracek also had goals for Philadelphia (37-25-11, 85 points), which stayed in third place in the Metropolitan Division and moved within four points of the first-place Capitals (41-24-7, 89 points). The Flyers began play tied with Columbus, which was idle Sunday, but have a tiebreaker over the Blue Jackets.
Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 43rd goal of the season, and Chandler Stephenson and John Carlson had goals for the Capitals, whose four-game winning streak was snapped.
The Flyers took the lead for good on Lindblom’s first career goal with 1:41 left in the second period. Voracek passed to the rookie in the slot, and Lindblom’s wrist shot went off goalie Philipp Grubauer’s blocker, off the pipe and then into the goal. The rookie went 12 straight games without a point before picking up an assist in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Carolina.
Philadelphia extended its lead to 3-1 with 18.3 seconds left in the period when Provorov’s wrist shot from the side boards got through traffic, deflected off defenseman Christian Djoos’ leg and past Grubauer.
Simmonds’ deflection of Robert Hagg’s slap shot made it 4-1 1:37 into the third period.
After Stephenson finished a 2-on-1 to pull the Capitals within 4-2 with 9:29 left, Simmonds scored his second of the night on a wrist shot from the slot that zoomed past Grubauer’s glove into the top-right corner.
Carlson’s backhander from a sharp angle with 3:53 left made it 5-3 and Voracek finished the scoring with an empty-netter with 37.1 seconds to play.
Gostisbehere opened the scoring 2:15 into the second period on a one-timer after Claude Giroux’s clean win on the faceoff.
Washington tied it at 1 with 4:52 left in the second on Ovechkin’s goal. Travis Boyd set up the goal with a pretty pass from the slot, spinning to backhand to Ovechkin, who tipped it over Mrazek.
Mrazek, playing in his 11th game for Philadelphia after being acquired from Detroit, had a strong game until giving up Carlson’s tally. He stopped Nicklas Backstrom on a 2-on-1 in the first period and later made a good glove same on Dmitry Orlov’s slap shot to keep the Capitals scoreless in the first. Mrazek’s most important save may have been with 8:10 left after
Washington pulled within two goals when he used his pad to deny Lars Eller from close range. He finished with 25 saves.
Grubauer returned to the net for Washington after struggling Braden Holtby made 22 saves in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Islanders. Holtby, the 2016 Vezina Trophy winner, had lost seven of eight and hadn’t played in four consecutive games entering Friday.
Grubauer made 29 saves.
NOTES: Washington C Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body) didn’t play after being slashed in the left wrist/arm area in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Islanders. He is day-to-day. Stephenson replaced Kuznetsov. … Simmonds upped his season goals total to 23. … Philadelphia finished 3-1 in the regular-season series. … Hagg returned after missing the last four contests with a lower-body injury.
Capitals: Host Dallas on Tuesday night.
Flyers: At Detroit on Tuesday night.