WASHINGTON — Sean Couturier scored twice, Claude Giroux recorded three points and Brian Elliott made 25 saves to help the Philadelphia Flyers deny Alex Ovechkin a milestone and blow out the Washington Capitals 7-2 Saturday night.
Philadelphia limited Ovechkin to one shot on net and kept Washington’s captain stuck on 698 career goals. He’ll need at least one more game to become the eighth member of the NHL’s 700-goal club.
Ovechkin didn’t look sharp in his latest pursuit of history, and the Flyers seemed content to take their chances with the rest of Washington’s lineup. T.J. Oshie scored a first-period power-play goal, but that was the extent of the Capitals’ meaningful offensive output.
All eyes were on Ovechkin, but it was Giroux who instead reached a milestone. With assists on Couturier’s first goal, Travis Konecny’s 18th of the season and a late 5-on-3 power-play goal, the Flyers captain reached 800 points.
The Flyers snapped a 0-for-9 slump on the power play when Couturier scored nine seconds into their first chance of the game, and then they poured on the goals early in the second. Michael Raffl, Couturier and James van Riemsdyk scored three times on four shots in 1:45 to break the game open.
Capitals coach Todd Reirden called timeout and lit into his players after the Flyers’ goal spree. But at the time he stuck with Braden Holtby, who was largely hung out to dry in allowing seven goals on 25 shots before a mercy pull in the third.
At the other end of the ice, Elliott did his job. He turned aside a one-timer from Ovechkin in his favourite spot in the left faceoff circle on the power play as part of a rebound performance after allowing four goals on 17 shots Thursday in a 5-0 loss to New Jersey.
That was one of Philadelphia’s worst games of the season and knocked it out of a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Taking the play to the Capitals in such dominant fashion could reinvigorate some confidence that the Flyers are indeed a playoff team.
Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored, assisted on Raffl’s goal and fought Brendan Leipsic to pick up a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. … Flyers defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere was given the game off as rest for a knee injury that caused him to miss 10 games before returning Thursday. … Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a garbage-time goal for Washington. … Oshie’s goal was his 20th of the season. … Martin Fehervary replaced Nick Jensen on defence for the Capitals and played his fifth NHL game of the season.
Flyers: Hope to get injured goaltender Carter Hart and ill forward Joel Farabee back Monday when they host the Florida Panthers.
Capitals: Face the coach who led them to the Stanley Cup in 2018 when Barry Trotz’s New York Islanders visit Monday.
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Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press