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Takeaways: Capitals Keep Good Times Rolling, Dominate Flyers With 9-2 Win

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Capitals forward T.J. Oshie

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Alex Ovechkin was smiles as his Washington Capitals kept the good times rolling on Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Washington’s tilt with the Flyers had a little bit of everything: highlight-reel goals, big hits and strong defense with the Capitals looking to extend its winning streak and continue shaking up the playoff picture in the East. Ultimately, the hard work paid off again for D.C., as Ovechkin, Lars Eller and the Capitals absolutely dominated Philly, 9-2, for their fourth straight victory with just nine games left in the regular season.

“It’s very important [to win a game like this],” T.J. Oshie said. “More important right for us than wins is how we play the game… I know the score was 9-2, but we came downtown here to play a game and play hard. It didn’t matter who we were playing against, and that’s very important for us going forward. It doesn’t matter what happens, who we’re playing.”

Here are all the takeaways from the victory:

Ovechkin, Capitals Get Off To Stellar Start

Over this recent stretch, Washington has benefitted greatly from strong starts, and Tuesday was no different. The Capitals were buzzing early, getting to the high-danger areas and creating a number of quality chances. And early on, it paid off, as Ovechkin got on the board once again.

Ovechkin collected his own rebound and made a brilliant play to bank the puck off of Carter Hart and in to open the scoring for Washington.

It marked Ovi’s 46th goal of the season, and he now has strikes in four straight games and 14 goals in his last 18 outings overall. The Great 8 sits 24 goals from 800, 26 from passing Gordie Howe for second all-time and 119 from breaking Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record. He also needs just four more goals for an NHL record nine 50-goal seasons.

READ MORE ON WHN: Ovechkin On Making NHL History, Climbing Goals List

Washington wasn’t done there. Soon after, John Carlson found a wide-open T.J. Oshie for a layup on the doorstep to make it 2-0 Capitals in the first. It marked Oshie’s ninth goal of the season and his first tally in nine games.

Although James van Riemsdyk would give the Flyers their first goal of the night on a breakaway just seconds later, Martin Fehervary restored the two-goal lead quickly. No. 42 made a stellar play, deking to the net and sliding the puck past Hart to make it 3-1 heading into the second. The Slovak now has goals in three of his last four games.

Overall, the Capitals were physical, relentless on the forecheck and playing smart in their own end while spending a majority of the time in the offensive zone.

At the end of 20, the Capitals were outshooting Philly 10-8. Washington has now scored three goals in the first period six times this season, with two of those performances occurring in the Capitals’ last four outings.

Eller, Capitals Forward Lines Keep Clicking, Pile On Goals

Not only did Washington start well, but the forward lines continued to find chemistry, specifically the third-line combination of Anthony Mantha-Lars Eller-Tom Wilson. The trio was physical and smart on the forecheck, and Eller remained hot.

The Dane picked up two great goals on Tuesday and now has four points in his last two games after going eight straight games without a point. Mantha also has points in back-to-back games, and Wilson is now on a three-game point streak with four points over that span.

Not only was that combination clicking, but Sheary continues to be an impressive fit on that top line. Marcus Johansson also generated some good chances working with Nicklas Backstrom and Oshie upfront. Meanwhile, both Sheary and Backstrom were able to extend their respective point streaks to three games.

Sheary, in particular, has fit in well on that top line. Not only did he pick up an assist, but he showed off his stickhandling ability and talent from in tight in the second. No. 73 made some great moves to fake out Martin Jones, who took over for an injured Carter Hart in the middle frame, to make it 5-1.

The Johan Larsson-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway also continues to operate well, with Larsson fitting in well and doing a solid job filling Carl Hagelin’s role. Given Hagelin likely won’t return for the remainder of the season, seeing that line generate pressure and work well defensively is a major plus heading into the playoffs.

Hathaway later added his career-high 12th goal of the season in the third to make eight goals for D.C. Johan Larsson put the icing on the cake with a late power-play goal and his first as a Capital for a 9-2 lead.

Samsonov, Blue Line Continue To Impress For Capitals

With the starting job still very much up for grabs, Ilya Samsonov is making a case for himself as he gets more time between the pipes. The 25-year-old made his third straight in Washington’s last four games against Philly on Tuesday and made the most of it.

Samsonov was strong in the net, moving well, tracking the puck and coming up with some clutch stops. He ended the night with 19 saves on 21 shots (.905 save percentage).

Not only has No. 30 been impressive, but the defense also continues to click. With Dmitry Orlov out due to a lower-body injury, Matt Irwin stepped in as the blue line was able to shut the door on Philly. Irwin had a great game, picking up a few quality scoring chances and eventually adding his first goal of the season to make it 6-1. He also added an assist that made it an 8-1 hockey game.

The defense did a great job on the backcheck, particularly Carlson, who has not only been strong on offense but on the backend of late as well. Meanwhile, Fehervary moved the puck well and also laid on the physicality with a team-leading four hits. Justin Schultz ended the night with three helpers.

In the end, the Capitals limited the Flyers to just 21 shots, while they managed 37.

“For us as a group, it’s just looking forward and establishing our game,” Irwin said. “We know what we’re capable of. And all that other stuff will take care of itself when we play the way we know we can and the way we’re capable. Consistency this time of year is huge.”

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Evgeny Kuznetsov picked up his 48th assist of the season and is now on a five-game point streak, along with Ovechkin.
  • Kuznetsov also received a 10-minute misconduct after getting involved in a scrum with Travis Konecny at center ice.
  • Carlson dished his 50th helper of the season, marking the fourth time that he has hit the 50-assist mark in a year. He is just the 17th defenseman in NHL history to accomplish such a feat. No. 74 also has points in four straight games, with nine points over that span.
  • Trevor van Riemsdyk picked up his 14th assist of the season, a single-season career-high. Both van Riemsdyk brothers got on the board on Tuesday.
  • Garnet Hathaway picked up his 12th goal of the season, a new career-high, and added an assist. He is now two points away from 100 career points.
  • Nic Dowd picked up two helpers and is now two points away from 100 in his career. Larsson also picked up an assist for his second helper in three games and has three points in his last three outings overall.
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