Flyers topple Capitals in overtime

Posted: January 29, 2016

WASHINGTON - The Flyers go into the all-star break feeling good about themselves.

Jake Voracek scored 38 seconds into overtime Wednesday - after goalie Braden Holtby lost his stick when bumped by a teammate - as the Flyers stunned powerful Washington, 4-3, at the Verizon Center.

Voracek's second goal of the game ended the Flyers' three-game losing streak and handed the Capitals their first home loss since Nov. 19. They had won 12 in a row at home.

"I'm glad we closed it out tonight," said Voracek, whose team had lost two of its previous three games in the last two minutes. "Huge game by our penalty kill, especially in the last two minutes" of regulation.

After Shayne Gostisbehere dumped the puck behind the net, Voracek spun away from Evgeny Kuznetsov, circled out front, and, after eluding Kuznetsov with a nifty move, beat all-star goalie Holtby with a high shot from deep inside the left circle.

"That's the way overtime is played - one on one. And if you beat one guy, you have a pretty good chance," Voracek said. "I just tried to go high."

The Flyers are 21-18-8 (50 points) at the all-star break and are five points out of a playoff spot. At a corresponding point last season, they were 19-22-7 (45 points) and 12 points out of a wild-card berth.

"It feels good. We played such a good road game from the start," winning goalie Michal Neuvirth said after beating his former team. "We were ready for them and it was a great team effort. . . . Our goal is to make the playoffs and the Flyers [organization] expects us to be in the playoffs. If we're going to play the way we did tonight, I'm sure we're going to do it."

The Flyers killed a Matt Read penalty late in regulation to force overtime.

The Caps tied it on Andre Burakovsky's second goal of the night, scored with 16 minutes, 5 seconds left after Scott Laughton was unable to control a bouncing puck in the Flyers' defensive end. Kuznetsov fed Burakovsky for his seventh goal.

Just 1:12 later, Holtby stopped Wayne Simmonds on a breakaway, then denied Voracek on a rebound.

Voracek had given the Flyers a 3-2 lead on a well-placed wrist shot from the top of the right circle with 2:21 left in the second period. The goal, scored on the short side after Claude Giroux (two assists) won a faceoff from Kuznetsov, came shortly after Holtby made key stops on R.J. Umberger and Sam Gagner in close.

Gagner knocked Holtby's stick out of his hands, infuriating the goalie, who seemed out of sorts for the next few minutes and committed a delay-of-game penalty after allowing Voracek's goal.

Burakovsky and Nicklas Backstrom had scored goals 55 seconds apart early in the second period to knot the score at 2-all.

The Capitals had the first 11 shots in the second period.

"As a group, we calmed ourselves down ... and found a way to win," winger Ryan White said.

Because of two snowed-out games, Washington was playing for the first time in eight nights - and the Caps looked rusty in a Flyers-dominated opening period.

"We knew they were off for a few days and we wanted to jump on them," said White, who scored his fifth goal, unassisted, in the opening period.

First-period goals by Brayden Schenn (power play, on a Simmonds set-up) and White (after a Kuznetsov turnover) gave the Flyers a 2-0 advantage, enabling them to take a lead into the second period for just the sixth time in 48 games.

Gostisbehere had two assists on the night, giving the rookie defenseman 22 points in 29 games. He has points in four straight games.

Washington, which lost the services of 13-goal scorer Marcus Johansson because of a first-period injury, goes into the all-star break with a shiny 35-8-4 record.

"This was huge for our group," said Umberger, who was robbed twice by Holtby from point-blank range and is goal-less in his last 50 games. "Mentally, we can take a break now and be ready to go when we come back. You beat a good team like this, it will propel you in the right direction."

scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull www.philly.com/flyersblog

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