Caps crush frustrated Flyers
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Despite the absence of captain Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals managed to produce their most goals in a game this season.
Joel Ward notched his first career hat trick, Nicklas Backstrom had two goals with an assist and the Capitals closed out their five-game road trip with a 7-0 thrashing of the Philadelphia Flyers that turned nasty in the third period.
Jason Chimera extended his goal streak to a career-high four games and collected three assists for Washington, which snapped a two-game skid to conclude its trek at 3-2-0.
"We created turnovers, we created some speed, we cycled well - all the things we talk about on a night-to-night basis," said Washington coach Adam Oates.
Ovechkin missed Friday's contest with an upper-body injury.
"I think we worked hard. We worked as a team. We scored on our chances. That's what you have to do, especially when you have a good goal scorer out of the lineup," Backstrom said. "Lots of guys stepped up, and that's exactly what we needed."
Ward struck twice during a five-goal second period and scored on a power play to make it 7-0 at the 5:23 mark of the third period.
Eight seconds later, a frustrated Flyers squad that fell to 3-9-0 on the season, incited a full-scale donnybrook.
Philadelphia goaltender Ray Emery, who relieved starter Steve Mason after Chimera made it 3-0 at 2:44 of the second, skated the length of the ice to scrap with fellow masked man Braden Holtby.
Emery was assessed a game misconduct, while Holtby, a reluctant opponent, remained in the game to complete his 30-save shutout.
"He didn't want a fight, but I said basically protect yourself," Emery stated.
Shots were elusive for the Capitals in the opening period, as they played 15:05 before being credited with their first one. Washington then converted its second shot after a failed clearing attempt.
Rookie defenseman Nate Schmidt kept the puck in the Flyers zone and Martin Erat dished to Backstrom, whose one-timer from atop the right circle beat Mason to the far side and over the glove with 2:32 remaining in the first period.
"They got the goal and we didn't respond," said Flyers coach Craig Berube.
Feeding off the momentum of the late tally, the Capitals struck for three goals in rapid succession early in the second period.
A common theme was present with the goals scored in a span of 2:25: each one came off a turnover.
Ward scored from the doorstep at 1:24, Chimera fought off a hook on a breakaway to lift a shot over Mason's glove and Backstrom put the puck past the recently inserted Emery at 3:49 after Flyers forward Sean Couturier unsuccessfully tried to advance the puck up the wall in the defensive zone.
The Capitals went up 6-0 on goals by Ward and Troy Brouwer, the latter on a power play, 1:55 apart late in the middle stanza.
The Capitals improved to 12-8-2 in games Ovechkin has missed throughout his career ... Holtby recorded his first shutout of the season and eighth of his career ... The Capitals were 5-for-5 in shorthanded situations and have now killed 30 consecutive power plays ... Philadelphia forward Vincent Lecavalier sustained facial injuries during a third-period fight with Steve Oleksy. Steve Downie, playing his first game for the Flyers after being acquired from Colorado on Thursday, suffered a concussion in a second-period fight with Aaron Volpatti ... Washington forward Mikhail Grabovski had three assists ... The Capitals had lost three straight at Philadelphia ... Mason made 14 saves and Emery stopped just 11 shots.
11/02 00:34:40 ET