PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Washington goalie Braden Holtby reached a milestone with some help from Alex Ovechkin, who got closer to his own special achievement.
Holtby stopped 27 shots for his 250th career victory, and Ovechkin had a goal and an assist to pull within a point of 1,200 for his career in the Capitals’ 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
Holtby reached the mark in his 409th career contest to become the second-fastest goalie to get to 250 wins. Ken Dryden did it in 381 games.
“It’s pretty crazy when you think about it,” Holtby said. “But I’ve been pretty fortunate to be on some pretty good teams.”
Ovechkin will become the third active player and 49th all-time to reach 1,200.
“It would be cool,” Ovechkin said. “Not many players do that.”
Nicklas Backstrom added a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who reclaimed sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division while winning their fifth straight and seventh in the last eight. Washington began the night tied with the Islanders atop the division.
Brett Connolly, Tom Wilson and Andre Burakovsky also scored for the Capitals.
“We’re playing with a different confidence lately,” Backstrom said.
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 postseason 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.
“We set the tone right away,” Ovechkin said.
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.
“We didn’t do a lot away from the puck,” Flyers interim coach Scott Gordon said. “We made it easy on them to gain the zone.”
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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