Injury-depleted Caps beat Flyers in OT, lose division originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
An injury-depleted Capitals team rallied for a 2-1 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday sealing home ice in the first round of the playoffs. Since the win did not come in regulation, however, the result seals the East Division for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This is the first time since 2015 that Washington has not won its division.
The Caps entered Saturday's game without Alex Ovechkin (lower body), Nicklas Backstrom (lower body), John Carlson (lower body), Evgeny Kuznetsov (COVID list) and Ilya Samsonov (COVID list). The team entered the game with only 17 skaters, one short of a full lineup. Tom Wilson left in the first period after taking a hit to the knee, but returned for the second. T.J. Oshie took an awkward hit in the second period and did not return to the game, meaning Washington was without five of its top six scorers by the third period.
Both teams battled to a 0-0 tie through 40 minutes, but Scott Laughton scored early in the third to give Philadelphia the lead. Laughton took the puck on a quick counter-attack and called his own number once he entered the offensive zone, firing a blistering wrist shot that hit off the cross-bar and in. It was his ninth goal of the season, five of which have come against the Caps.
Washington mounted a furious rally late and Lars Eller tied the game with just 40 seconds remaining in regulation. Conor Sheary got the game-winner in overtime, just barely sneaking the puck past Flyers goalie Alex Lyon.
Craig Anderson was the winner in net for the Caps, turning aside 28 of the 29 shots he faced in just his second start of the season.
After the win, Washington is now locked into second place in the East meaning they will host their opponent in the first round of the playoffs.
That opponent will almost certainly be the Boston Bruins who the Caps will play in the regular-season finale on Tuesday.