Grubauer, 21, finished with 14 saves in his NHL debut, a perfect relief outing, but by that point the damage was done. Regardless of the goaltender in their net, the Capitals never broke out of their slumber to even remotely threaten Philadelphia’s lead.
It took a grand total of 23 seconds for the Flyers to begin building their advantage, marking the first time in nine outings that Washington failed to score first.
The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg, LaVar Arrington, Jason Reid and Jonathan Forsythe discuss Alex Ovechkin’s hat trick and Braden Holtby’s string of starts between the pipes for the Capitals.
Insight on the Capitals and all the latest news from Post reporter Katie Carrera.
Against the Capitals’ top defensive pairing of Mike Green and Alzner, Scott Hartnell chipped the puck out in front from behind the goal line. The puck bounced off Alzner’s skate and directly to the left side of the crease where Claude Giroux had an open net to shoot at.
Wayne Simmonds scored on a rebound chance on the power play less than four minutes later to make it 2-0 on Philadelphia’s fifth shot of the game.
“When you give up the first goal on the first shift, that’s disappointing. I don’t know,” said Joel Ward, who scored the Capitals only goal of the game with 17:51 gone in the third. “You just have to have the will to get in there and make things happen, and it’s just a disappointing start that we got off to.”
The Capitals couldn’t create anything to even attempt a rally. They continued to ice the puck and in the second period, with the long change because their bench is on the opposite side from the defensive zone, they were routinely hemmed in below the blue line. Clearing the zone suddenly resembled a herculean task as the Flyers batted down weak attempts and derailed disjointed breakout plays with ease.
Simon Gagne scored on the power play for a 3-0 Flyers advantage 3:54 into the second period. Talbot was only a few feet across the blue line when he teed up his booming slap shot that found its way past Holtby for the 4-0 advantage.
“You just have to stick to the plan,” said Alex Ovechkin, who finished with six shots on goal but was a minus-1. “But maybe tired. Maybe we just don’t have that kind of jump like we have couple games. It happen. We have to forget it and just move forward.”