WASHINGTON – Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Washington Capitals sure had reason to feel down.
They came away from more than 1 1/2 minutes of a 5-on-3 power play with nothing. Then they gave up two goals to the Philadelphia Flyers, who were generally pushing the Capitals around. Was Washington demoralized? More like determined. “We got a little bit angry,” Nicklas Backstrom said. “It was good for us.”
Alexander Semin returned from a two-game absence with a tiebreaking goal and two assists, Jose Theodore stopped Darroll Powe’s penalty shot later in the third period, and the Capitals came back to beat the Flyers 4-2 Tuesday night.
Ovechkin scored two goals – including an empty-netter in the final minute – to raise his season total to 11, and Backstrom had four points. The Southeast Division leaders rallied from a 2-0 deficit to stretch their winning streak to five games.
After a scoreless opening period, Scott Hartnell and Braydon Coburn put in power-play goals in the second to put the Flyers ahead.
But, with Theodore en route to 41 saves, the game was tied heading into the third.
“Theo kept us in the game,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said.
About 5 1/2 minutes into the final period, Semin put the hosts ahead to stay with his seventh goal of the season. His wrist shot appeared to deflected off defenseman Kimmo Timonen’s knee on its way past goalie Ray Emery.
“I don’t know what I should do,” Timonen said. “Every time bad breaks happen, I’m on the ice.”
Semin sat out Washington’s previous two games because he was, as coach Boudreau put it, sick and sore. But Semin looked just fine from the outset against Philadelphia, challenging Emery with a strong shot on his first shift.
The forward would have to wait to score, though, eventually doing so off assists from Backstrom and defenceman Mike Green.
Less than 1 1/2 minutes later, Powe got his chance to tie things up again, but Theodore kicked away the penalty shot. Theodore has stopped six of eight penalty shots he’s faced in his career.
“He was really solid,” Boudreau said.
After Hartnell’s goal 3:06 into the first period made it 1-0, the Flyers killed off that 5-on-3 chance for the Capitals. Shortly thereafter, Washington’s Tyler Sloan went into the penalty box, and only nine seconds into the power play, it was 2-0, thanks to Coburn’s goal on a slap shot past a screened Theodore.
Ovechkin pulled Washington within a goal at 16:08 of the second, putting a shot over Emery’s shoulder, and Backstrom tied it with less than two minutes left in the period on a power play.
Philadelphia couldn’t recover and lost its second game in a row.
“We can’t be satisfied with what’s going on,” Flyers coach John Stevens said. “We got to start winning these tight games.”
Notes: Flyers F Simon Gagne could need surgery for two small hernias in his right groin. Asked Tuesday whether an operation is likely, Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren said: “I can’t really say for sure. We need to sit down and talk with Simon. … It is an option, yeah.” Holmgren said his team’s medical staff will meet with Gagne on Wednesday to discuss his options.