Flyers

How About That Response? Flyers Make Capitals Look Silly, Strengthen Case for NHL Playoffs

How about that response? After an embarrassing loss at home, the Flyers went to D.C. and embarrassed the first-place Capitals, 7-2, Saturday night to strengthen their playoff case

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That's one hell of a response.

After losing at home Thursday night, 5-0, to the Metropolitan-worst Devils, the Flyers blew out the division-leading Capitals in their own building, 7-2, Saturday night.

Washington had not allowed seven or more goals in regulation at Capital One Arena since Nov. 24, 2006. For the Flyers, the seven markers matched their season high.

As the Flyers (30-18-7) dominated on the ice, everything worked in their favor on the NHL scoreboard. With the victory, the Flyers crept to within two points of third place in the Metropolitan Division and grabbed hold of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot (see standings).

The Flyers have shown they can take down the best as they're 8-2-2 against the NHL's top six teams. However, they also own four regulation losses to the NHL's bottom six teams.

Unpredictable at times, sure, but it's hard to argue that they look like a playoff team - and one that could do something.

The Capitals (36-14-5) still have the league's second-most points with 77.

• If you need a clear-cut sign of how much better the Flyers are this season compared to last, look at what they've done against Washington.

The Flyers are 2-0-1 through three meetings with the Capitals, outscoring them 11-6.

During 2018-19, the Flyers lost all four matchups with Washington in regulation by a combined score of 18-9.

The Flyers are a different team this season. They're allowing fewer goals, they're deeper (even with injuries), they have stability in net and they're tougher to play against.

They improved to 10-3-4 within the division after going 10-16-2 against Metropolitan foes last season.

• Claude Giroux entered the game on a season-worst four-game scoreless skid. He ended that drought in style.

Moving from center to left winger, Giroux broke out with a goal and two assists, giving him 800 career points.

Giroux has shown he is at his best on the wing. The Flyers need to find a way to keep him there. Morgan Frost, who went 9 for 10 in the faceoff circle, has an opportunity to give the Flyers that luxury.

• Nicolas Aube-Kubel continued to show the Flyers why he should be here for good this season.

The fourth-line winger was excellent in 8:11 minutes with a goal, an assist and a fight to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick.

• The Capitals did a really nice job saluting Matt Niskanen in his return to D.C.

Niskanen was touched by their video tribute. He had a strong game, as well, playing 19:58 minutes and doing a little bit of everything.

• Brian Elliott (25 saves), Sean Couturier (two goals) and Travis Konecny (one goal, one assist) were huge.

• Playing in place of Shayne Gostisbehere, who is not quite back up to speed after returning from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Robert Hagg was solid yet again.

Hagg celebrated his 25th birthday by blocking a pair of Alex Ovechkin shots and finished with four blocks overall. He has been steady and sound for the Flyers, giving them tough (but good) decisions ahead.

• Speaking of Ovechkin, his quest for 700 goals was put on hold by the Flyers. He's still at 698 after going scoreless Saturday. The Flyers have held Ovechkin to without a point in three matchups.

• The Flyers are off Sunday before opening their 12th back-to-back set out of 17 as they host the Panthers Monday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and visit the Islanders Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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