Andre Burakovsky

Chandler Stephenson scores twice in Caps 5-3 win over Flyers

Coming into Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Washington Capitals had lost three of their last four games.

In a different vein, the Philadelphia Flyers were, well, flying.

Winners of nine of their past 11, they were heading into the nation’s capital against a team without a win in three straight at Capital One Arena.

None of the preambles mattered, however, as the Caps snapped their skid at home in a 5-3 win, scoring five unanswered and battling back from a 2-0 first-period deficit to increase their Metropolitan Division lead to six points over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Washington became the fourth team in the NHL to reach 30 wins behind the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets.

Philly got off to a quick start, with the second pick in the 2017 NHL Draft opened the scoring.

Nolan Patrick took a nice feed from Wayne Simmonds pulled the puck to his backhand and potted it up and over Braden Holby for a 1-0 lead 1:18 into the first period.

The Flyers doubled their lead before the eight-minute mark.

A nice rush from Sean Couturier resulted saved shot, but the rebound found its way to the stick of Travis Konecny, who buried his 11th of the season with Holtby down and out after getting knocked over by his own defender.

The Caps needed 47 seconds to erase the lead in the second period.

Rookie Chandler Stephensen stepped up in a big way, scoring both of the goals.

Stephenson cleaned up some garbage that Michal Neuvirth couldn’t manage in front for the first goal at 2:14.

Stephenson’s second came on the heels of a beautiful 150-foot pass by Madison Bowey to send the former in alone on Neuvirth.

Stephenson made no mistake, tying the game 2-2 at 3:01.

The Caps took their first lead of the night before periods’ end.

Andre Burakovsky got his stick on Lars Eller‘s centering pass, beating Neuvirth for a third time in the second frame to give the Caps a 3-2 lead.

T.J. Oshie made it 4-2 early in the third period and Washington’s fifth unanswered goal by Devante Smith-Pelly meant the end of Neuvirth’s night after allowing five goals on 20 shots.

Jakub Voracek hit double digits with his 10th of the season late.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry – Flyers at Capitals

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Philadelphia Flyers

Claude GirouxSean CouturierTravis Konecny

Jakub VoracekNolan PatrickWayne Simmonds

Jordan WealValtteri FilppulaMichael Raffl

Tyrell GoulbourneScott LaughtonJori Lehtera

Ivan ProvorovShayne Gostisbehere

Robert HaggAndrew MacDonald

Brandon ManningRadko Gudas

Starting goalie: Michal Neuvirth

[Flyers look to take down Capitals for second time in January]

Washington Capitals

Alex OvechkinEvgeny KuznetsovTom Wilson

Andre BurakovskyNicklas BackstromT.J. Oshie

Chandler StephensonLars EllerBrett Connolly

Devante Smith-PellyJay BeagleAlex Chiasson

Dmitry OrlovMatt Niskanen

Christian DjoosJohn Carlson

Brooks OrpikMadison Bowey

Starting goalie: Braden Holtby

WATCH LIVE: Capitals – Rangers on Wednesday Night Rivalry

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New York Rangers

Forwards
Rick NashMika ZibanejadMats Zuccarello
Michael GrabnerKevin HayesJ.T. Miller
Chris KreiderDavid DesharnaisJimmy Vesey
Paul CareyBoo NievesPavel Buchnevich

Defense
Ryan McDonaghNick Holden
Brendan SmithKevin Shattenkirk
Brady SkjeiMarc Staal

Starting Goalie: Ondrej Pavelec

[NHL on NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry: Rangers host Capitals]

Washington Capitals

Forwards
Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromTom Wilson
Jakub VranaEvgeny KuznetsovT.J. Oshie
Andre BurakovskyLars EllerBrett Connolly
Devante Smith-PellyJay BeagleAlex Chiasson

Defense
Christian Djoss – John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov – Matt Niskanen
Brooks OrpikMadison Bowey

Starting Goalie: Philipp Grubauer

The Buzzer: Shea like butter, freakouts, losing efforts

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Players of the Night

The Vegas Golden Knights have been quite the story, and the remarkable thing is that it isn’t all just smoke and mirrors.

Still, this stuff is more fun when there’s some magic happening, so file this moment under it. Theodore already had three assists on Tuesday, but his lone goal ended this game in regulation with about three seconds remaining. Consider this the highlight of the night, at least with Dmitry Orlov‘s deke masterpiece already covered in this post.

(Note: That’s basically how I score half of my goals in “NHL 18.”)

There’s been a rash of high-scoring players in defeat lately; add Vanek’s name to that growing list. The aging winger collected a hat trick and an assist, yet those four points weren’t enough for a win or even a charity point. At least Vanek got the 10th hat trick of his career.

Odd stuff

Is … Marc Crawford OK?

Wes McCauley: a little weird.

Factoids

Speaking of strong play in defeat, consider Erik Karlsson, who hopefully escaped Crawford’s spit and wrath:

Earlier today, PHT discussed John Tavares possibly sticking with the Islanders, in part because of a reported deal for a new arena. The other part: improved help around him, headlined by the likes of Josh Bailey?

Scores

Maple Leafs 8, Hurricanes 1
Red Wings 6, Islanders 3
Rangers 4, Ducks 1
Wild 6, Senators 4
Bruins 3, Sabres 0
Jets 6, Predators 4
Capitals 4, Stars 3 (OT)
Panthers 3, Coyotes 2
Canadiens 7, Canucks 5
Golden Knights 4, Lightning 3

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

PHT Morning Skate: Is Matt Duchene a big upgrade on Kyle Turris?

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–On Sunday evening, the Senators, Avalanche and Predators pulled off a major swap that involved Matt Duchene and Kyle Turris. Did Ottawa really upgrade their roster that much by making this deal? The Score takes a deeper look at the Duchene vs. Turris debate. (The Score)

–Marijuana will become legal in Canada as of July 1st, so will hockey players be able to use it for medicinal purposes? It’s something the players’ association and owners have to talk about it. (TSN.ca)

–The NHL usually makes a big deal of their outdoor games, but it seems like the tilt between the Maple Leafs and Capitals in Annapolis this March isn’t getting much attention. (scottywazz.com)

Cam Ward had been serving as the starting goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes for years. This year, he’s been the backup to Scott Darling for the most part. That’s a difficult adjustment to make. “There’s no question it has been an adjustment,” Ward said. “I’m doing what I can to stay sharp in practice. When you’re not playing as much you have to emphasize more the practices and trying to stay sharp.” (Charlotte Observer)

–Popular Nashville Predators fan Ben Butzbach, who used to have painted messages on his stomach at games, passed away at the age of 33. “Big Ben” was extremely popular with both fans and players and he will be missed. (NHL.com)

–The Columbus Blue Jackets are off to a great start this season, and their advanced stats are quite impressive too. The Jackets have the fourth-best corsi in the league and their expected goals for indicate that more offense could be on the way. (unionandblue.com)

–There are three reasons the Capitals are struggling this season. First, injuries have been problematic for them. Matt Niskanen and Andre Burakovsky are both on the shelf right now. The Caps also have a lot of new faces, and their early-season schedule is pretty difficult. (novacapsfans.com)

–Cardiaccane.com looks at three reasons why the team should move defenseman Noah Hanifin. There’s a number of big-name players around and teams definitely hold the young blue liner in high regard.  Will they pull the trigger on a deal? (cardiaccane.com)

Kalle Kossila has made quite an impression with the Anaheim Ducks this season. No one expected the team to rely on him so heavily, but that’s exactly what’s happened this season. “We didn’t expect we were going to have to use him as much in this situation,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “But that’s what happens. You get injuries and you’re going to have to call on the depth of your organization to supplement your lineup.” (OC Register)

 –Adam Twenter of thesinbin.net wrote a thoughtful piece about how cancer isn’t fair. He’s encouraging all his readers to join this hockey-related fundraising campaign. (thesinbin.net)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.