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5 Observations: Caps Rally Past Flyers; Konecny Ticked with Ovi

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Kevin Hayes, Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers congratulate Kevin Hayes after his first-period power-play goal gave them a 1-0 lead. Photo: AP.

The Philadelphia Flyers finished 2-3 on their second-longest homestand of the season, which ended Wednesday with a closer-than-it-looks 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.

“We just struggle generating offense. It’s a problem here,” coach John Tortorella said.

Here are five quick observations:

1. The Capitals took advantage of the Flyers inability to clear the zone.

After Lukas Sedlak failed to clear the puck, Dylan Strome (two points) scored on a tip-in with 10:41 left, giving the Caps a 2-1 lead. Strome deflected home a drive by John Carlson. As it turned out, it was enough to give Washington (12-12-4) their second straight slim victory over the Flyers (9-13-5).

Alex Ovechkin locked up the win by scoring two empty-net goals, giving him 795 tallies in his career. A frustrated Travis Konecny didn’t like the second one and had words with the Great 8 and gave him a shove.

“What was that?” Konecny appeared to say to Ovechkin after his goal with nine seconds left.

After the game, Konecny said he he initially thought Ovechkin deked and deposited the shot on his backhand.

“Maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought,” said Konecny, who apparently believed Ovechkin was showboating.

Said Ovechkin: “They lost. They have character and a good group of guys. Obviously, frustration” set in.

2. The Flyers lived dangerously, and it finally led to a Washington goal.

Philly committed four penalties in the first 22:21, and they killed off three straight. But on their fourth power play of the night, T.J. Oshie ripped a one-timer from the high slot past Carter Hart (23 saves). That tied the game at 1-all with 16:09 left in the second.

Flyers center Lukas Sedlak broke his stick on the penalty kill, and the Caps took advantage.

“You can’t give a team like that so many power plays,” Kevin Hayes said.

After their four early penalties, the Flyers did not have any infractions the rest of the night.

3. Kevin Hayes increased the Flyers’ power-play streak.

Thanks to Hayes, the Philadelphia Flyers stretched their streak with at least one power-play goal to three straight games. That hadn’t happened since March, 2021.

Skating a few strides inside the blue line, Hayes gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead when threw an innocent-looking shot at the net and it got past Charlie Lindgren (29 saves) with traffic in front.

With about eight minutes left in regulation, Hayes hit the post from the doorstep while the Flyers were on another power play.

“When we have those major chances, we need to score because we just don’t generate a lot,” Tortorella said.

Hayes finished with 13 shot attempts, including six on goal. He has nine goals and a team-high 28 points in 27 games.

4. Travis Konecny remained productive.

The 25-year-old right winger set up Hayes’ power-play goal, giving him 17 points in his last 15 games.

He said the Flyers are not trying to do anything fancy on the power play.

“Just simplifying and trying to stay in our positions,” he said. “Just wear them down and start to make plays and just have fun.”

5. James van Riemsdyk returned to the lineup and got better as the game progressed.

The left winger missed the previous 20 games because of finger surgery, and he got in the flow with each shift Wednesday.

“Certainly not a great start, but I’m trying to continue to build,” said the Central Jersey native after the second period.

Van Riemsdyk, 33, and his brother, Trevor, of Washington, faced each other for the 19th time in their careers. They each had nine wins in their head-to-head matchups before Wednesday.

“Obviously, this is a game I saw when I was hurt and what the timeline might be (for returning),” said van Riemsdyk, who was on a line with Morgan Frost and Owen Tippett (seven shot attempts, four hits).

Van Riemsdyk, whose parents attended the game, had two shots in 12:47.

Breakaways

Peter Laviolette, the former Philadelphia Flyers coach, got the win on his 58th birthday. … Tortorella: “Our record doesn’t show it, but I think we’ve made a lot of improvements in parts of our game.” … The Flyers had a 15-3 shots domination in the first period, when they held the Capitals to just four shots on goal. The Caps had 50 shots in their previous game, a 3-2 win in Edmonton. … Ivan Provorov and Nick Deslauriers had six hits apiece. … The Flyers play the Golden Knights in Las Vegas on Friday at 10 p.m., starting a four-game road trip. Defenseman Egor Zamula will be sent to the Phantoms during the Flyers’ road trip, John Tortorella said. Philly will recall another defenseman.

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