Capitals take 3-0 lead in series with Flyers

Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:17pm EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - The Wells Fargo Center erupted after a moving tribute and spirited play from the home team led to a first-minute goal Monday.

However, the Washington Capitals weathered the early storm, dominated the special teams battle yet again, got great goaltending from Braden Holtby and beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1, putting a 3-0 stranglehold on the Eastern Conference first-round playoff matchup.

"It's not over yet," said captain Alexander Ovechkin, whose three-point night pushed him ahead of Dale Hunter for the most playoff points (73) in Capitals franchise history. "We have to forget about it and move forward."

It is the first time the Capitals ever held a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven playoff series, and they can thank their special teams.

Washington, the league's best team, got five goals on the man advantage, bumping their series total up to 8-for-17 on the power play. Meanwhile, with the help of Holtby, who made 31 saves, the Caps held the Flyers scoreless on five power plays. Philadelphia is now 0-for-13 with the man advantage.

"The power play has lots of confidence," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "And they (the Flyers) give us lots of practice."

The Capitals led 2-1 after two periods after Ovechkin beat Steve Mason with a wrist shot from the right circle 8:50 into the middle frame.

The Caps put the game away in the third.

Evgeny Kuznetsov took advantage of a generous bounce off a Justin Williams clearing attempt to put the Capitals up 3-1 at 1:58 of the third period just before a slashing penalty to Brayden Schenn was coming to an end. The puck was being wrapped around the boards and squirted right in front of Mason, allowing Kuznetsov to score in tight.   Continued...

Apr 18, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. The Capitals defeated the Flyers, 6-1. Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports