WASHINGTON — Braden Holtby made 35 saves to compensate for an inconsistent effort by his teammates, and the Washington Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 on Sunday afternoon to snap a two-game skid.
Holtby was in late-season form and helped Washington kill off three of four Philadelphia power plays. That allowed the Capitals to avoid what would have been their first three-game losing streak since January.
Tom Wilson, Travis Boyd and Jakub Vrana scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who guaranteed themselves remaining in first place in the Metropolitan Division on Monday when they’re scheduled to visit President Donald Trump at the White House. Holtby is one of two players who have said they will not attend.
The Capitals lacked energy the past two games after a showdown with the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday. The Flyers took the play to them at times despite being on the second half of a back-to-back and having their playoff chances reduced to almost none in recent days.
Jakub Voracek scored a power-play goal and Brian Elliott made 27 saves for Philadelphia, which made a run from near the bottom of the league before running out of gas.
Washington is trying to avoid an ill-timed slump after losing top-four defenceman Michal Kempny for an indefinite period of time with a lower-body injury. With Kempny out, Capitals coach Todd Reirden mixed up his defensive pairings against the Flyers, moving All-Star John Carlson to his off side to play with fellow righty Nick Jensen.
NOTES: The Capitals swept the season series against the Flyers for just the second time in franchise history. … The start of the game was delayed several minutes as officials sorted out a lineup discrepancy. Philadelphia initially had Justin Bailey listed as a scratch, but he was in the lineup in place of Phil Varone. … Capitals C Evgeny Kuznetsov played after missing Saturday’s practice with an illness and LW Carl Hagelin returned after missing Friday’s game against Minnesota with an illness. … The sickness going around the team coupled with Kempny’s injury led the Capitals to call up D Tyler Lewington as an extra body. … Captain Alex Ovechkin remained stuck on 48 goals as he looks for his eighth career 50-goal season.
Flyers: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
Capitals: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday in the first half of a home-and-home series.
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Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press