NHL

Del Zotto’s late goal leads Flyers over Capitals

The Flyers were the headline event for Hockey Day in America as they hosted the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon. A late goal by Michael Del Zotto allowed the Flyers to come away with the 3-2 victory. The win briefly moved the Flyers to two points behind Boston, but the Bruins moved it back to four with a win of their own.

The Flyers came out with the jump early in the game’s opening minutes. They would get an early power play chance when Jay Beagle went off for holding. The Flyers made sure to make him pay.

Claude Giroux would get his first goal in 17 games on the man advantage. Mark Streit and Giroux played catch at the blue line before Giroux found open space and fired the puck through the legs of Wayne Simmonds and behind goaltender Braden Holtby for the 1-0 lead.

The Flyers would carry most of the play for the rest of the period and come into the locker room with the 1-0. They would capitalize on another power play chance early on in the second period. This time it would be Wayne Simmonds.

The Flyers had carry over power play time as Matt Niskanen had gone off for a knee-to-knee hit on Sean Couturier. The Capitals also took a high-sticking penalty to give the Flyers a brief 5-on-3. Right as the first penalty ended is when the Flyers struck. Brayden Schenn won the faceoff for the Flyers, allowing Giroux to come in and get the puck. He sent it over to Streit at the point who took the initial shot. Holtby made the save, but Simmonds batted the puck out of the air to give the Flyers the 2-0.

The Capitals would storm back with consecutive goals in the period, the first coming from Tom Wilson. John Carlson intercepted a Schenn clearing attempt. Carlson took it across the blue line and sent the pass to Wilson who was all alone on the left side. Wilson made no mistake, getting his first goal in 35 games to cut the lead to 2-1.

Joel Ward tied the game later on in the second period. Eric Fehr tried to get the puck in deep, but his attempt hit Flyers Andrew MacDonald and the glass before coming to Ward. Ward spun and whacked at the bouncing puck which went off the stick of Zac Rinaldo and in behind goaltender Rob Zepp to tie the game at 2-2.

The teams would go into the final frame of the game still tied. Michael Del Zotto would give the Flyers the lead four minutes into the period. Jakub Voracek held the puck in the offensive zone as he wanted for the rest of the team to come off a line change. Del Zotto charged into the offensive zone where Voracek sent a hard cross-ice pace to him. Del Zotto skated into the left circle and fired the puck past a screened Holtby to give the Flyers the 3-2 lead.

“I just saw the opening there, didn’t think twice and the puck went in. Glad it worked out,” Del Zotto said in an interview.

The Capitals would get a final chance to pot the equalizer when Nick Schultz took a delay of game penalty with under a minute to go. A huge block by Braydon Coburn in the game’s final seconds sent the puck out of the zone and allowed the Flyers to get a big victory over the Capitals.

Wayne Simmonds increased his season high point streak to eight games. He has six goals and four points in that stretch of time. Jakub Voracek set a new career high in points as he collected two assists in the game for a total of 63 points on the season.

“We’ve got to be pretty happy with how we’re playing right now. We’re playing as a team. We’ve got to keep rolling,” Claude Giroux said in an interview.

“We’re just trying to play hockey the right way. We’ve played pretty good hockey the last couple months here. And we just have to stick to it,” Wayne Simmonds said in an interview.

The Flyers will travel to Raleigh to take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Puck-drop is set for 7 p.m.

Ariel Melendez

Ariel Melendez is a junior, communication major at Cabrini College. Ariel is also the Sports Director for his school's radio station. Sports are a big passion of his and he loves watching and talking about every game that he sees.

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