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5 Observations: Flyers Beat Caps Again; Hart, Laughton Shine



Wade Allison, Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers
Wade Allison (left) congratulates Carter Hart after the Flyers' 3-1 win Saturday night in Washington. Photo: AP.

The surging Philadelphia Flyers beat the Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday, then traveled to Washington and beat them again in the nation’s capital Saturday, 3-1.

The Flyers (18-18-7), who climbed to .500 for the first time in two months, got second-period goals from James van Riemsdyk and Wade Allison to build a 3-1 lead.

“Timely goals. Some grinding. Allie’s goal was a big goal. Not one thing. I think we played well as a team,” coach John Tortorella said.

Carter Hart was spectacular as he stopped 39 shots. Scott Laughton chipped in with a goal and an assist.

“A good win against a good hockey club. A division rival and a big four points for our team,” Hart said.

Hart stopped all 19 shots he faced in the final period.

“Carter took over the game in the third,” Tortorella said.

The Flyers have won five consecutive road games, and seven of their last eight, overall, the best record in the NHL since the holiday break.

Don’t look now, but the Flyers are six points out of a playoff spot.

Travis Konecny’s point streak ended at 10 games. He missed an empty net with 15.9 seconds left in the game.

Here are five quick observations:

1. The Flyers blocked a ton of shots.

Blocked shots are a goalie’s best friend, and Hart was supported by his teammates. They blocked shots but not his vision. Philly finished with 25 blocked shots, including three apiece by Travis Sanheim, Nick Seeler, and Allison (six hits).

There were a lot of pileups in the third period, and the Flyers’ defense was able to lock down the game.

2. Philly’s penalty kill has been improving.

The Philadelphia Flyers were a perfect 3 for 3 on the penalty kill. They blocked a slew of shots, and Hart came up big when the Caps were swarming the net. He did a great job controlling rebounds.

Rasmus Ristolainen was very good, and has been for a while now. He may only have two points on the season, but he’s improved his play. The Finn has averaged over 20 minutes a game this season.

3. JVR buried the third goal of the game.

Frost beat Trevor van Riemsdyk to a puck, passed it to Owen Tippett, and he found TVR’s brother, James, wide open at the corner of the net. Van Riemsdyk  banged it home to make it a 2-1 game at 4:51 of the second period.

“I think we had a good pulse on the game for different situational play,” said van Riemsdyk, who has seven goals in 22 games. “Having two wins like that is big for us. The team we play next (Boston on Monday) will be a fun one.”

Forty-nine seconds after van Riemsdyk’s goal, Allison scored to make it 2-1. Kevin Hayes and Laughton got the helpers. JVR has made Tippett a better player this year. Even if van Riemsdyk gets traded at the deadline, that’s a good mark to leave on this year’s squad.

4. Alex Ovechkin is on pace to score 50 goals again this season.

Ovechkin got his 30th goal for the 17th time in his remarkable career, tying former Capitals star Mike Gartner for the NHL record.

Morgan Frost got fancy in his own end, and a bad between-the-legs pass went to Ovechkin — and it ended up in the back of the net. Goal No. 810 for the Great 8. It was a 1-1 game with 2:04 left in the first. Ovechkin was playing on the side of the net on the power play.

Ovechkin had 15 shot attempts, including five on goal.

5. Scott Laughton has been very effective on the power play.

Laughton scored his fifth power-play goal of the season. He had none in his career before this season.

This one came off a nice shot by Tony DeAngelo that Laughton deflected past Darcy Kuemper. The Flyers were up 1-0 at 13:16 of the first period. Laughton will surpass his career-high 32 points in a matter of weeks. He has excelled under Tortorella.


Peter Laviolette’s Caps were a league-best plus-23 in the second period this season, but were outscored, 2-0, in that stanza Saturday. …Philly has put two defensemen on the power play late in the game to limit the odd-man rushes that plagued them earlier this season. … Zack MacEwen had six hits. … Keith Jones, Flyers color man and a former player, was a member of the Capitals but never played in the current building during his time with Washington. He did with the Flyers. … For some reason, the Capitals scratched top center, Dylan Strome. … The Flyers will play the host Bruins on Monday afternoon on Martin Luther King Day.

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