PHILADELPHIA — Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom each had a goal and an assist, and the Washington Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 Wednesday night to reclaim sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Brett Connolly, Tom Wilson and Andre Burakovsky also scored for the Capitals, who won their fifth straight and seventh in the last eight. Washington began the night tied with the Islanders atop the division.
Ovechkin moved one point from reaching 1,200 for his career. He will become the third active player and 49th all-time to reach the mark.
Braden Holtby made 27 saves for his 250th career victory.
Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist, and Scott Laughton and Philippe Myers also scored for the Flyers, whose rally from a 5-0 deficit fell short. Philadelphia had won 16 of 21 to close within reach of a post-season spot after sinking to the NHL’s worst record in January. The Flyers remained seven points out of the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
After taking a 2-0 lead in the first, Washington pushed its lead with three goals in the first 5:37 of the second.
Ovechkin opened the second-period scoring with a power-play tally at 2:32 with a wrist shot through goalie Brian Elliott’s legs. It was the league-leading 46th goal for Ovechkin, who is four shy of reaching 50 goals for the eighth time in his career.
Burakovsky beat Elliott with a wrist shot from a sharp angle just under two minutes later to end Elliott’s night. It was the first poor performance for Elliott since his return from a 40-game absence due to a lower body injury. He entered 3-0-1 in six appearances (four starts) since his return but allowed four goals on 19 shots against Washington.
The Capitals greeted Elliott’s replacement, Cam Talbot, with more of the same, making it 5-0 on the first shot Talbot faced when a wide-open Backstrom fired a wrist shot high over the netminder from the slot.
Philadelphia got on the board with 11.3 seconds left in the period when Myers netted his first career goal.
Giroux then got his 20th on a backhander 10 seconds into the third, and it was 5-3 when Laughton’s deflection beat Holtby at 7:48.
NOTES: Philadelphia forwards Jakub Voracek (lower body) and Nolan Patrick (upper body) didn’t play. … Flyers rookie G Carter Hart (lower body) missed his sixth consecutive game. … Washington has won both games this season against the Flyers. The teams will meet twice more in the regular season, next Thursday in Philadelphia and March 24 in Washington. … Ovechkin has 57 points (34 goals, 23 assists) in 51 games against Philadelphia.
Washington: Host New Jersey on Friday night.
Philadelphia: At the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
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Aaron Bracy, The Associated Press