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5 Observations: Great 8 Sends Stunned Flyers to 8th Straight Loss

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Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers
Washington right winger Anthony Mantha skates up ice and the Flyers' Ivan Provorov defends in Wednesday night's matchup. Photo: AP.

The Philadelphia Flyers’ losing streak grew to eight games in excruciating fashion Wednesday night at Capital One Arena.

Alex Ovechkin scored on a left-circle, one-timer with 3:56 left in overtime, giving the Washington Capitals a 3-2 comeback win.

It was his 25th OT goal in Ovechkin’s career, tops in NHL history.

A short time before he scored his 790th career goal, Ovechkin put a shot off the post in the Capitals-dominated overtime.

Washington tied it at 2-2 when Sonny Milano finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play with 2:58 left in regulation. The play may have been offside, but the Flyers did not challenge — probably because they would have been penalized if the play was ruled onside.

The Flyers are 7-8-5. Two games earlier, Montreal tied them at 4-4 with 1.9 seconds left. The Flyers lost that game in a shootout, 5-4.

Yes, it’s been a painful skid for the injury-ravaged Flyers.

Washington (8-10-3), which got star winger T.J. Oshie (two assists) back in its lineup for the first time since Oct. 29, ended a four-game losing streak.

Here are five quick observations:

1. Felix Sandstrom stepped up his game.

Playing for the first time since a 5-1 loss to Dallas on Nov. 13,  Sandstrom was the Flyers’ best player. He turned aside 29 of 32 shots, and was especially effective in the second period, keeping the Caps off the board in that stanza, one in which they outshot the Flyers, 15-5.

2. The Flyers were getting soundly outplayed when they took the lead.

Washington had a 13-3 shots domination and kept the Flyers hemmed in their defensive zone when, out nowhere, Ivan Provorov’s bad-angle, backhand shot deflected off Patrick Brown and into the net. That gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 5:27 to go in the second.

It was Brown’s first goal in four games since he returned to the lineup.

3. With a little help, Morgan Frost ended a long goal-less streak.

Frost’s innocent-looking shot from above the left circle was butchered by goalie Darcy Kuemper. The shot hit off his shoulder and fluttered into the net, giving the Philadelphia Flyers a 1-0 lead with 14:33 left in the first.

It was Frost’s first goal in 19 games; he hadn’t turned on the red light since the opener, when he tallied twice (one on an empty-net goal) against New Jersey.

4. The Caps’ sputtering power play awakened against the Flyers.

Entering the night, Washington had been 1 for 26 on the power play over its last six games.

But the Caps cashed in on their first opportunity Wednesday.

Marcus Johansson scored to knot the score at 1, but after a review, the goal was erased because he used a kicking motion to put the puck in the net.

No matter.

Just 22 seconds later, Johansson scored from the doorstep to make it 1-1 with 8:55 to go in the first. Ovechkin, who was originally credited with the goal, had the primary assist.

5. Philly did some lineup tinkering, and the fourth line excelled.

Jackson Cates replaced Max Willman as the third-line left winger, and Kevin Hayes and Noah Cates (Jackson’s brother) switched positions on the second line. Hayes went back to  center, and Noah Cates shifted to left wing.

Hayes appeared to injure his shoulder when hit by Ovechkin in the opening period. He came off the ice, but returned a short time later.

With the game tied at 2-2, Jackson Cates hit the post with about two minutes left in regulation. He was playing his first game since being recalled from the Phantoms.

As for the fourth line, it was relentless and was arguably the Flyers’ best unit. The line — Lukas Sedlak centering Nick Deslauriers and Kieffer Bellows — created numerous scoring chances.

Bellows had his best game as a Flyer. He had eight shot attempts (five on goal) and delivered three hits. Sedlak set up several opportunities, and Deslauriers had an assist and seven hits.

With the Flyers holding a 1-0 lead early in the first, Deslauriers fired a shot off the post.

Breakaways

The Flyers have lost all five games that have gone beyond 60 minutes. … Carter Hart had started four in a row and six of the previous seven games. During those six starts, he allowed 23 goals (3.83 goals per game). … On the power play, Philly was 0 for 4, and Washington was 1 for 3. … Hayes had his six-game points streak snapped. … Sedlak got a bloody nose after checked into the glass by Oshie in the opening period. … The Flyers host Pittsburgh on Friday at 5:30 p.m.

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