PHILADELPHIA — Alex Ovechkin scored, Carl Hagelin had a goal and an assist and the Washington Capitals held on late for their fourth straight win, 5-4 over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.
Nick Jensen, Daniel Sprong and Nic Dowd also scored for Washington, which has won eight of nine.
Nolan Patrick, James van Riemsdyk, Shayne Gostisbehere and Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers, who have lost four of five and were swept in three home games against Washington this week.
Ovechkin pulled within one of tying Phil Esposito for sixth on the NHL's career goals list when he fired a wrist shot from just above the circle past Carter Hart’s blocker side on the power play to make it 4-2 with 6:50 left in the second. It was the 716th goal for Ovechkin, who also has 39 tallies in 61 career games against Philadelphia.
Hart replaced Brian Elliott in goal after Jensen made it 3-1 3:05 into the second. Hart, the Flyers’ regular starter, has been slumping lately and Elliott got the start Saturday for the fourth time in the last six contests.
But Elliott struggled in the first period when the Capitals scored twice. Sprong opened the scoring 4:40 into the game on a fluky goal when he chipped it over Elliott after the Flyers goalie couldn’t corral the rebound on Jakub Vrana’s shot from the outside.
Hagelin made it 2-0 with 6:39 remaining in the first when he slid a rebound from right in front through Elliott’s legs.
Van Riemsdyk’s team-leading 12th goal brought Philadelphia within 2-1 early in the second. He intercepted Sprong’s clearing attempt and shot a wrister from the slot past Ilya Samsonov’s glove side.
Jensen made it a two-goal game again 29 seconds later with his second of the season.
Nolan Patrick netted his third of the season on a one-timer from the left circle to pull the Flyers within one before Ovechkin put the visitors ahead two goals again.
Hart allowed yet another easy one on Dowd’s deflection of Garnet Hathaway’s seemingly harmless wrist shot from the point with 15 1/2 minutes remaining. The puck trickled through Hart’s pads, and that goal would prove to be crucial because Gostisbehere scored with 6:53 left and Giroux with 2:57 remaining to make it a one-goal game.
IN AND OUT
Capitals C Lars Eller returned after missing Thursday’s contest against Philadelphia for personal reasons. However, he left in the first period with a lower body injury and didn’t return.
OUT AND IN
Flyers D Phil Myers was back in the lineup after being benched for Thursday’s game against Washington.
Capitals: At Buffalo Monday night.
Flyers: At Rangers Monday night.
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Aaron Bracy, The Associated Press