Turnovers hurt Flyers in loss to Capitals

Turnovers hurt Flyers in loss to Capitals
February 1, 2013, 9:30 pm
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WASHINGTON -- Another night on the road. Another Flyers’ loss.

And another injury casualty.

You’d never guess the hapless Caps, coming off two road losses and playing back-to-back games, would have more spunk and win crucial puck battles over the Flyers.

Yet, that’s exactly what Adam Oates’ club did with a 3-2 victory at Verizon Center on Friday night.

“They had a really strong third period, and we didn’t have enough jump right from the get-go,” Brayden Schenn said.

“When you play a hockey team that played the night before, gets in late, you need to get a jump on them early.

“Our start wasn’t good enough, our third period wasn’t good enough and the team should be worn down after six periods and … obviously, it was not good enough.”

Peter Laviolette’s club set a franchise record with 25 road victories last season but is a disturbing 1-5 away from home this season. Their overall record fell to 2-6-0.

What should have been a strong third period in a tie game would have saw the Flyers at least force overtime for a point. Instead, it was the Caps who had the grit.

They seemed to beat the Flyers to loose pucks all night.

Asked if you could explain the sluggish start and poor third, a visibly angry Laviolette said he could not.

Meanwhile, Wayne Simmonds has a head injury, the result of a first-period elbow to the face from Caps defenseman John Erskine.

“He has a head injury and a little bit of a whiplash going on right now,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “He seemed OK after the game. We’ll wait to see tomorrow.”

Holmgren said he was examined for a concussion but the doctors did not indicate that.

Laviolette said the hit “looked dirty.”

The third period began 1-1 with the Caps having a 5-on-3 power play for 1:13.

Then, a scare. Alex Ovechkin’s slapshot caught goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in the ribs.

“Actually, I got hit twice [by the puck] in the same spot,” Bryzgalov said, pointing to his ribs on his right side. “I’m sore.”

Although the Flyers killed it off, Troy Brouwer gave the Caps their first lead of the night at 3:57.

Despite getting knocked over by Brayden Schenn, Brouwer got up, took a pass from Mike Green and roofed the puck short side over Bryzgalov’s shoulder from a tough angle below the left circle.

If that weren’t bad enough, not even three minutes later, Claude Giroux won a neutral zone faceoff from Mike Ribeiro, drawing the puck back to Luke Schenn at the blue line. Schenn fumbled it and then lost it to allow Wojtek Wolski a breakaway.

Wolski backhanded past Bryzgalov, making it 3-1.

“Turnovers,” said Laviolette, biting down hard on his words. “But we need to compete better, as well.”

Brayden Schenn, however, came back with a rebound goal a few minutes later to make it a one-goal deficit again.

It was yet another dreadful opening period by the Flyers, who were well-rested.

The lethargic start was evident just in the shots -- 10-2 in Washington’s favor 14 minutes into the period.

“We didn’t do a good job of asserting ourselves in the first 10 minutes,” Mike Knuble said. “We let them gain some life.

“It’s up to us to assert our game there and let them know we’re going to be rolling.

“Bryz did a nice job of holding down the first 10 minutes but that’s 10 minutes too long. That should be the cue to have a real strong first 10 minutes.”

Kurtis Foster had a slapper on net at 6:09. Their next shot didn’t come until 11:26 on the power play when Caps goalie Braden Holtby made a save on Danny Briere from the left post.

Up to then, Bryzgalov had saved at least three goals, staring down Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Wolski, all of whom had wide-open chances.

As bad as the Flyers were once again on the power play, they did manage an even-strength goal at 11:43 of the second period.

Defenseman Bruno Gervais notched his first goal as a Flyer more or less by finding a gift in the crease.

With Briere and a tireless Tye McGinn pressing at the net, Holtby lost sight and control of Briere’s rebound and it slithered outside the paint where Gervais happened to be paying a visit.

The lead lasted just six minutes before Backstrom tied it with his first goal of the season.

Sean Couturier had the puck across center ice when Caps defenseman John Carlson poked it away with a strong pass up the middle that simultaneously caught the Flyers in a defensive change.

It went directly to Backstrom for a breakaway backhander, making it 1-1.

“Obviously, frustrating for a little bit now, especially in the third period with a 1-1 game,” Brayden Schenn said.

“You got to win those hockey games. To give up two in the third is not what we’re looking for. I still don’t think we were good enough as a team tonight.”

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