NHL Game Summary - Washington at Philadelphia
(Tuesday, March 22nd)
Final Score: Washington 5, Philadelphia 4 (SO)
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Alexander Semin's goal in the third round of the shootout was the winner, as the Washington Capitals blew a three-goal lead but rebounded to beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-4.
After Danny Briere scored to even things, Semin walked in on Brian Boucher, pulled the puck back to avoid an unnecessary poke check, and lifted a backhander home to end the game.
Washington, which saw its lead in the Southeast Division increase to seven points over second-place Tampa Bay, wrapped up a playoff spot.
Mike Knuble posted a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who shrugged off the absence of captain Alex Ovechkin to win for the 11th time in 12 outings.
"I certainly like how we came out. Everything we were shooting was going in and we got that three-goal lead," Knuble said. "You knew at some point they were going to come on, and that they weren't happy with the way things went from the start. The goaltender change really sparked them. We kept rolling as a group and got timely goals to win."
Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson added a goal and helper each and Michal Neuvirth stopped 29 shots.
Andreas Nodl and Claude Giroux totaled a goal and assist apiece for the Flyers, who lost for the third time in five games but remained one point ahead of Washington (97-96) in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Boucher ended up with 13 saves over the final 43-plus minutes. He bailed out starter Sergei Bobrovsky, who was yanked after yielding three goals on nine shots in less than 22 minutes.
Backstrom managed to squeeze a shot between Bobrovsky's arm and body from just inside the blue line for a 1-0 Capitals edge at 7:52 of the first period.
The Flyers failed to equalize on an extended advantage shortly thereafter, and Knuble made it 2-0 with 2:14 remaining after finishing off a passing play between Johansson and Jason Chimera.
Washington went up by three on a power play at 1:22 of the second when Bobrovsky let another shot, this time from Dennis Wideman, slip through his armpit and Boucher was summoned from the bench.
Kris Versteeg banked his pass to the slot off Wideman's skate and in at 8:05, and it was a one-goal contest with 33.8 seconds to play when Nodl shipped a cross-ice dish to Giroux for a successful one-timer from the left circle.
Mike Richards hit the far post on a wrister with 5 1/2 minutes gone in the third, but a bad clear from the Caps wound up in their own net just before the midway point.
While the visitors chipped the puck around the end boards from left to right, the disc was intercepted by Giroux, whose quick tip pass found Nodl alone in front. He causally flipped his shot over Neuvirth's glove for a 3-3 tie.
Briere then tipped home a Kimmo Timonen point drive with 5:45 to go and the Flyers had their first lead of the contest, but Johansson drilled a long shot home with 3:19 left to deadlock the game again.
Both sides had quality chances in overtime but failed to end the contest.
"I thought it was a playoff game. Washington is one of the best teams in the league for a reason," Nodl admmitted. "They battle hard, and they block shots. It was a great game for us other than the outcome."
The Capitals reached the postseason for the fourth straight year and for the 22nd season since arriving in the NHL in 1974...All four games this season between the clubs were decided beyond regulation...Ovechkin was ruled out for the next 7-10 days on Monday, with what the Caps called an undisclosed, but nagging injury...Prior to the game, the Flyers announced that forward Jody Shelley will miss one month after undergoing surgery to correct a fractured orbital bone around his left eye...The club recalled defenseman Danny Syvret from Adirondack of the AHL to fill the roster space...Briere's tally was his 100th with Philadelphia...Knuble hit the 20-goal mark for the eighth straight season.
03/22 23:28:41 ET