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Flyers, Brink outlast Capitals in shootout, 4-3; Tippett shines



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Bobby Brink scored the Philadelphia Flyers' first goal. (Photo: AP)

Bobby Brink, Joel Farabee, and Owen Tippett all scored goals for the Philadelphia Flyers as the hosts defeated the visiting Washington Capitals, 4-3 in a shootout at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.

With Carter Hart out due to a surprise illness, Sam Ersson drew a second consecutive start. Felix Sandstrom was recalled from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms under emergency conditions to serve as Philadelphia’s backup on Thursday.

Garnet Hathaway absorbing a huge hit from Joel Edmundson was just about the most notable thing that happened in the first period, as the Flyers and Capitals moved at a snail’s pace in the first 20 minutes. At the end of the first period, the Flyers had managed just two shots on goal, whereas the Capitals had seven.

The game opened up slightly in the second period, as Bobby Brink flicked home Marc Staal’s rebound just over two minutes in. Forty-six seconds later, Connor McMichael equalised for the Capitals after Sean Walker left him alone in the crease and Scott Laughton failed to pick up his opponent. It was about as easy of a goal as McMichael will ever score in the NHL.

With eight minutes left and right after the Flyers’ third failed power play of the game, Ersson came up with a huge breakaway stop on Nicolas Aube-Kubel. With under five minutes to go in the second, an Alex Ovechkin one-timer caught Ersson in the mask, and the Swede was unable to fix it. As a result, the Flyers gave up a rare power play goal, with Tom Wilson converting on the doorstep.

To finish the second period, the Flyers drew one penalty and then another, giving them a 5-on-3 for the closing 45 seconds. Even then, it was remarkable how passive Philadelphia was with the puck. There’s just a plain lack of guile and decisiveness across the board, and that’s something that can be a long-term issue.

The Flyers were much more aggressive in the third period and were rewarded for their efforts. A little over five minutes in, Joel Farabee alertly picked up a loose puck from a board battle and wrapped it around to Charlie Lindgren’s far post, tying the game at 2-2.

Washington answered, though, scoring their third goal of the night – this time on a broken play. Aliaksei Protas’s stick broke on a shot attempt, and the puck bounced right to Dylan Strome for the layup. An unsuspecting Ersson had no chance to react to the bang-bang play in time.

With three minutes to go and Philadelphia buzzing, Owen Tippett whipped a shot through Travis Sanheim’s legs while spinning, beating a screened Lindgren. With his goal, Tippett joined Farabee and Travis Konecny as the Flyers’ double-digit goal-scorers this season.

The Capitals were able to do just enough to hold the Flyers off and crawl into overtime. With under three minutes to go, Cam Atkinson couldn’t buy any luck if such a thing was possible, as he was stopped on a breakaway – again. In the shootout, Sean Couturier scored on his first attempt, but T.J. Oshie answered back, breaking Ersson’s ankles with a crafty move. Strome and Tyson Foerster each missed in the second round, with strong saves from both goalies, including a diving poke check. Lindgren again went for the diving poke, but Brink was patient enough to score and avoid him.

The Flyers won in the shootout, 4-3.

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