Flyers 3, Caps 2 (OT)

Another slow start for the Caps, another third-period rally, but in the end another disappointing effort. You take a point on the road at Philadelphia and most teams in the NHL will be happy with it. Washington isn’t most teams and the first two periods left a sour taste despite the comeback. Read the details in our game story here.

The Caps failed to top three goals for the 19th time in 21 games. The ones they got from Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble were gritty scores right in front of the crease. But that kind of sustained pressure didn’t surface until they were already down 2-0 and the answers just aren’t there right now. You could see it in Ovechkin’s postgame interview. He and his teammates are tired of talking about their struggling offense. But they just haven’t found a way to break through, especially against the better teams on the schedule.

No, it’s hockey. We’re trying to score and trying to score, and it really has just not been happening. We’re trying to figure out why and that’s about it,” said Caps forward Matt Hendricks. “But again, it’s nice to have a comeback. We had great goaltending and [Semyon Varlamov] made some big saves for us there. We got a point. We’re not happy with it, but twenty minutes ago we were down 2-0 and came back and put it into overtime. So, it is somewhat of a good thing, but nothing to pat ourselves on our backs for.”

Drawing one measly penalty mighthave helped the cause. But the Caps didn’t get one on this night – not that the Flyers were running wild with the extra man, either. Philadelphia earned just one and failed to convert. The referees were letting the boys play. All three games between the Flyers and Capitals so far this season have gone beyond regulation.  Six of the last 15 games between the clubs since the start of the 2007-08 season have required overtime or a shootout.

Caps forward D.J. King hadn’t played in a game since Dec. 6 against Toronto and in just eight total so far this season. But after recovering from a bone bruise in his foot, King returned to the lineup against Philadelphia for the first time in six weeks. It didn’t take him long to get back into it, fighting Flyers enforcer Jody Shelley to a draw just 2:45 into the contest. It didn’t exactly spark the Caps, who managed just six shots in the first period and once again passed up quality opportunities. But even after they found life in the third period it wasn’t enough.

Washington started the season 5-0 in overtime or shootout games and since has gone 1-7, including five losses in a row. Those are valuable points flying out the window. A steadier performance during regulation might help, too. But Bruce Boudreau hinted at a stark reality, one the Caps have seen lurking in the shadows since the gruesome loss to Montreal in the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring. 

“We’d like to be able to do it for the whole game.  I am not in their heads,” Boudreau said of his players. “We couldn’t open it up the whole game. We don’t have the firepower right now.  We have to play it defensively a little bit, but it’s tough when you are behind in the first three minutes.”

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