Voracek goal gives Flyers overtime victory over Capitals
The fans call him Scoracek in Philadelphia and no player has done more of it this season in the NHL.
Jake Voracek’s next stop could be the All-Star game.
Voracek bolstered his case as one of the top stars in the game, scoring 1:28 into overtime to lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.
Voracek scored his 16th goal of the season on the power player to give the Flyers their second win of the homestand. They had their first shootout win since 2013 against Ottawa on Tuesday. R.J. Umberger and Sean Courturier also scored for the Flyers.
Voracek leads the league with 33 assists and his 49 points are just 13 shy of matching a career best.
"I’m not sure that he really thinks about being the top scorer in the league," coach Craig Berube said. "He wants to win hockey games."
Voracek needs to help the Flyers win more, fast.
The Flyers entered Thursday nine points behind the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot and play eight of their next 11 games at home as they make that crucial push for contention.
"These next 20 games mean a lot," Umberger said. "If you get into March and you’re nine points out, you’re in trouble. We need to make up a lot of ground here in the next 20 games."
Alex Ovechkin and Karl Alzner scored for the Capitals, who twice blew one-goal leads.
Alzner put the Capitals ahead 2-1 early in the third on a shot from the left point that appeared to skim off Ovechkin and into the net. After a lengthy review on a potential high stick call on Ovechkin, the goal stood and the Caps went up 2-1.
Alzner’s fourth goal of the season is just three shy of matching his career total in six seasons coming into this one.
Washington’s celebration was short lived.
Umberger, the overpriced and unproductive center, gave Flyers fans a rare chance to cheer for him when he slid hard on his left knee and pounded home a rebound off the boards to make it 2-all.
Braden Holtby started a Washington goalie-record 17th straight game and played in his 23rd straight overall. Holtby had 31 saves in Washington’s 6-2 win Wednesday against Toronto and was strong in his second start in as many nights.
"I think it’s tougher for all guys, everyone," Holtby said. "No different for goalies than anyone else. You just mentally prepare a little different, might not be quite as extra energy as some nights."
Coach Barry Trotz brushed off a question before the game about analytics’ data showing goalies should not start both games in back-to-backs.
"Everyone throws them toward me," Trotz said. "There’s a place for analytics, but there’s also a place for the old eyeball test."
Holtby had 31 saves — just not the big one against Voracek.
"We stuck with it. It’s hard to do in the position we are," Voracek said.
Steve Mason, who left Wednesday’s practice early with soreness, stopped 26 shots.
Ovechkin does what Ovechkin does against the Flyers, scoring his whopping 28th goal in 34 career games against them. Mason never had a chance once Ovechkin fired from the left circle for a power-play goal 3:08 into the game. Ovechkin scored his 21st goal of the season and now has one in five straight games. Ovechkin last scored goals in five straight games in March 2013.
But he had little help the rest of the way.
"Maybe it was just our mentality thinking this was going to be an easy game," he said.
Courturier evened the score with his 10th goal of the season midway through the period, punching in the puck after it bounced off a couple of players in front of the net.
The Flyers left the period down a defenseman after Nicklas Grossmann suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. Grossmann’s right shoulder was slammed into the boards and he was slow to his feet. He was checked by a Flyers trainer and helped off the ice.
Grossmann had eight points on the season and played in all 40 games.
NOTES: The Flyers played the Capitals for the first of four times this season and for the 200th time in the series. … The game featured a Braydon (Coburn), a Brayden (Schenn) and a Braden (Holtby). … Trotz was cut by a skate on his forehead when players when over the boards chasing the puck. "My modeling career is out the door anyway," he said. … Former Capitals G Wayne Stephenson played in 22 straight games in the 1979-80 season. … Alzner scored two goals in 82 games last season.