Brassard, Couturier score to lead Flyers past Capitals 2-1
WASHINGTON (AP) — Derick Brassard and Sean Couturier scored in the second period, Martin Jones stopped 31 shots and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Saturday night.
Brassard, who had just returned to the ice after being penalized for bench interference when he punched Washington’s Garnet Hathaway, scored from the left circle at 11:18, beating Vitek Vanacek. It was his second goal of the season and was assisted by Cam Atkinson and Justin Braun.
Moments later, Jones, who has won each of his three starts this season, stopped Carl Hagelin’s breakaway to keep the Flyers (6-2-2) ahead.
“They had a strong push in the third,” Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault said. “Throughout the game, we were playing tight the way we needed to and we had good sticks, and we were making the plays the way we needed to. … I thought we carried most of the play in the third.
“With such a strong team like that, they’re going to have a push, and they’re going to have some looks. We got the saves at the right time and we battled hard. We battled for every inch on the ice. I really liked our team effort.”
Jones is in his first year with Philadelphia after spending the past six seasons with San Jose.
“In the first two periods, they didn’t have really many grade-A chances,” Jones said. “When you’re down two goals in the third you’re going to funnel some pucks to the net. I thought we did a great job. PK was really good again. We did a great job around the net.”
Couturier scored on a rebound after Vanacek deflected Rasmus Ristolainen’s shot at 15:44, making it 2-0. It was Couturier’s fifth goal of the season.
“We played fast. We played simple,” Couturier said. “We executed well and put a lot of pressure on them. Created some chances off just simple hard forecheck. On the road sometimes you don’t get the matchups you want but you’ve got to simply things and get some puck possessions and that’s the way to do it.”
Vanacek stopped 30 shots for Washington (5-2-4).
Capitals rookie Brett Leason scored his second goal in his fourth NHL game at 6:02 of the third to cut Philadelphia’s lead to 2-1. Leason scored from the right side, with Connor McMichael making the key pass.
“The third period was our best period,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “We got moving. We were sleeping in the first and we got outworked in the second, so the third period I thought was our best period. We started getting it behind them a little bit more, playing in the offensive zone and generating some chances.”
NOTES: Flyers D Ryan Ellis was out for the seventh straight game with a lower-body injury. Vigneault said he hoped Ellis would practice with the team Sunday, but now doesn’t think he will. … Flyers forward Kevin Hayes, who is recovering from abdominal surgery and hasn’t played yet isn’t likely to play Wednesday when he’s eligible to come off long-term injured reserve. “I would say Wednesday is an outside chance, more on the outside than on the inside,” Vigneault said. … Capitals forward Anthony Mantha is out indefinitely after undergoing shoulder surgery Friday. Without Mantha, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, Washington is missing three top forwards. Backstrom has yet to play this season due to a hip injury. Oshie has missed four games with a lower-body injury. … F Aliaksei Protas was sent to Hershey of the AHL. … Ristolainen got his 200th career assist, his first point for Philadelphia.
Flyers: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
Capitals: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.
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