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Capitals 5, Flyers 4 (SO)

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- After getting into five fights and rolling up 164 penalty minutes in their first meeting of the season, the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals returned to normalcy in their rematch on Sunday.

That is, if you consider two teams combining for five third-period goals being normal.

Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 27th goal with 48 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime and Nicklas Backstrom netted the game-winner in the shootout, leading the Caps to a 5-4 win.

Capitals left wing Eric Fehr and Flyers center Claude Giroux also scored in the shootout. The Capitals improved to 8-3 in shootouts this season.

Giroux, defenseman Mark Streit, right wing Jakub Voracek and center Sean Couturier scored in succession for the Flyers.

The Capitals fell behind 4-1 on third-period goals by Couturier and Voracek, but responded with long-range goals by defensemen Mike Green and Dmitry Orlov, setting the stage for Ovechkin's heroics.

Ovechkin collected a loose puck inside the blue line and wristed a hard shot through Flyers goaltender Steve Mason.

The goal was Ovechkin's sixth in his last five games and came with Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer pulled for the extra attacker.

The two Metropolitan Division rivals dropped the gloves twice, but it was four unanswered goals by the Flyers that set the stage for Washington's comeback.

With the win, the Flyers moved from sixth in the Metropolitan Division to fourth with 33 points, four behind the second-place Capitals. The two teams face each other again in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

The Flyers grabbed a 4-1 lead when Couturier and Voracek scored 1:14 apart early in the second period. The Capitals responded with third-period goals from Green and Orlov to make things interesting.

The two teams traded first-period goals, with left wing Marcus Johansson scoring for the Capitals on the power play and the Flyers countering with Giroux's even-strength goal.

The Caps opened the scoring 11:17 into the game when, with Flyers left wing Michael Raffl in the box for slashing, Ovechkin found Johannson on the far post for a tap-in. The goal was Johansson's fourth of the season and third on the power play.

It marked the fifth time in six games the Capitals scored a goal on the man-advantage.

The Flyers answered with 54 seconds remaining in the period when Giroux one-timed a pass from Raffl past rookie goalie Philipp Grubauer for his seventh goal of the season.

NOTES: Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski sat out his first game with the Capitals with flu-like symptoms. Three players were celebrating their 400th NHL game. Flyers right wings Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds and Washington right wing Troy Brouwer all hit the milestone. Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell entered the game needing three points to reach 500 in his career. Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin entered the game three goals shy of 400. ... Flyers center Claude Giroux's first-period goal gave him 17 points in his last 18 games. ... Before the game, the Capitals activated defenseman John Erskine, who had missed the previous 21 games with a knee injury. To make room for him Washington placed center Brooks Laich on their long-term injury list. Laich (lower body) can come off on Dec. 22. The Capitals also recalled rookie center Michael Latta from the American Hockey League Hershey Bears and re-assigned rookie defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Bears.

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