Laughton’s 1st hat trick lifts Flyers past Capitals, 7-4
WASHINGTON (AP) — Scott Laughton scored his first career hat trick, Sean Couturier had two goals in his first game back following a rib injury and the Philadelphia Flyers pulled away for a 7-4 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
James van Riemsdyk added a goal and an assist, running his points streak to seven games, while helping Philadelphia overcome an early 2-0 deficit.
Robert Hagg scored his first goal of the season in Philadelphia’s first win in regulation in five games, and first win overall in three. Joel Farabee had three assists, and Carter Hart made 33 saves.
“It’s a big win after losing those two games the way we did to Boston,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said.
Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and had two assists for Washington, which lost its third straight despite outshooting Philadelphia 37-23.
“I thought we generated enough chances, I thought we could’ve scored more. There’s a few that didn’t bounce our way,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “I don’t think it was a barrage coming at us defensively, but they capitalized on the chances that they did get.”
Tom Wilson added a goal and recorded three assists for the first time in his career, and Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and two assists for the Capitals.
Vitek Vanecek stopped 10 of 14 shots before he was pulled for Craig Anderson after van Reimsdyk gave Philadelphia its first lead late in the second period.
“Sometimes you make a change to try and change the momentum of a game,” Laviolette said of the swap.
Backstrom pulled the Caps even at 4-all inside the final minute of the second period when he squeezed a spinning backhand shot underneath Hart from off Ovechkin’s feed.
But Philadelphia regained the lead 31 seconds into the third, when Couturier fired past Anderson off a rebound of Michael Raffl’s effort.
Laughton completed his hat trick to give the Flyers insurance on another rebound after Anderson’s pad save of Farabee, and Couturier added a late empty netter.
“It’s nice to get rewarded and go to the net and have that happen,” Laughton said. “It’s just a good feeling to help contribute.”
POWER BACK ON
After a rare scoreless night Thursday, Ovechkin’s opening goal marked the sixth game in the last seven when Washington has scored on the power play. The Capitals are 8-14 on the man advantage in that stretch.
Flyers: Van Riemsdyk contributed his 100th assist across two stints with the Flyers on Laughton’s second goal. He has 11 this season, which puts him well on pace to break his previous career high of 33 despite a shortened 56-game schedule.
Capitals: Wilson reached 200 career points with his third assist.
Flyers: D Travis Sanheim was unavailable (undisclosed) and is day to day, according to the team. ... Couturier was activated from injured reserve before the game. He last played on Jan. 15.
Capitals: L Jakub Vrana was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 list Saturday, while R T.J. Oshie sat out with an upper-body injury. ... C Philippe Maillet made his NHL debut.
The Capitals and Flyers meet again in Washington on Tuesday night.
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