(The Sports Xchange) - A change in goaltenders, some special teams success and a pair of goals from defensemen ignited Philadelphia to a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, helping the Flyers stave off elimination.
The Capitals, who had a 3-0 series lead in a best-of-7 series for the first time in franchise history, couldn’t complete their first-ever sweep. Instead, they have a chance to do it on home ice on Friday.
T.J. Oshie put a loose puck by Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth with a backhand 2:38 into the third period to cut a Flyers 2-0 lead in half.
From there, the Flyers held on after a furious third-period Capitals rally.
Neuvirth, who replaced Flyers goalie Steve Mason for Game 4, made 12 of his 31 saves in the third period, including a key save in tight on a Tom Wilson rebound with 7:50 to play. He stopped a Mike Richards shot in the slot two minutes later.
Washington outshot Philadelphia 32-25, including 12-4 in the third period. The Flyers went the final 17:46 without a shot on net in the offensive zone.
Philadelphia finally broke an 0-for-13 power-play drought in the first period.
With Washington defenseman Taylor Chorney in the box for an interference penalty, Flyers rookie Shayne Gostisbehere, who celebrated his 23rd birthday Wednesday, took a pass from Claude Giroux and fired a one-timer past Braden Holtby for a 1-0 Flyers lead 5:51 into the game.
The Flyers’ other goal also came on a one-timer from a defenseman.
Wayne Simmonds fed Andrew MacDonald at the point 3:51 into the second period, and MacDonald’s shot beat a screened Holtby for a 2-0 lead.
A scary injury caused a brief delay in the first period. With 3:49 left, Flyers forward Scott Laughton, after what appeared to be incidental contact with Washington defenseman John Carlson, lost his footing and went crashing hard into the boards behind the Washington net.
Laughton was face-down on the ice for several minutes and was tended to by team trainer Jim McCrossin and two staff doctors. Laughton, 21, was eventually taken off the ice on a stretcher.
The Flyers announced after the opening period that Laughton, who had 21 points in 71 regular season games, was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for “precautionary reasons.”