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September 29, 2013

Washington closed out the home portion of its preseason slate with a convincing 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night. The Caps scored the first three goals and Philly the next three, but Washington put its foot on the gas again in the third and finished the Flyers with a three-goal flurry in the final frame, including Mathieu Perreault’s punctuational empty-netter in the waning seconds.


Philadelphia dressed virtually its opening night lineup while Washington countered with lineup that had much less of an NHL look to it. Among those sitting out Friday’s game for the Capitals: forwards Troy Brouwer, Martin Erat and Jay Beagle and defensemen Mike Green, John Erskine and John Carlson.


Regardless of résumés, the Flyers were flyers in name only; they had difficulty dealing with the Caps’ team speed throughout the night.


Eric Fehr got the Caps started with his fourth goal of the preseason just 100 seconds after the opening puck drop. Perreault pushed the puck to Dane Byers along the wall in the left wing corner, and Byers threaded a crisp pass to Fehr in front. The big forward easily beat Philly goalie Ray Emery to make it 1-0, Washington.


Midway through the first, Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo was excused from the proceedings. He was given a five-minute major for elbowing Caps center Mikhail Grabovski in the head, and issued a game misconduct as well. 


The Caps cashed in on the ensuing power play, Alex Ovechkin drilling home a one-timer from his usual spot near the left dot after Connor Carrick put it on a tee for him.


Two seconds after Ovechkin’s goal, rookie Caps winger Tom Wilson dropped the gloves and fought Philly’s Brayden Schenn, the first of five scraps on the night. Wilson was a clear winner.


The 19-year-old Wilson used his hands to hurt the Flyers in a different fashion, converting a pretty Grabovski centering feed at 11:41 of the second to push the Washington advantage to 3-0. The goal was Wilson’s third of the preseason.


Philly showed very little life in the first half of the contest, but seemed to draw a pulse from captain Claude Giroux’s goal at 14:05 of the second. Giroux’s shot got through Caps’ goalie Michal Neuvirth to make it a 3-1 game.


Holding a two-goal lead late in the second, the Caps were derailed a bit by a temporary lack of discipline. Less than a minute after Giroux’s goal, Carrick went to the box for holding. Philadelphia pulled within one on a textbook backdoor tally on the subsequent power play, converting a perfect pass from Sean Couturier.


Immediately after the goal, Hartnell and Caps defenseman Steve Olesky tangled, with Oleksy getting the extra deuce for instigating as well as a 10-minute misconduct. Washington killed that minor without incident, but the Flyers drew even on a Wayne Simmonds goalmouth scramble tally with 70 seconds remaining in the middle frame.


Washington needed just 95 seconds at the start of the third to regain a lead it would not relinquish. Fehr corralled a puck on the goal line to Emery’s right, and snapped a quick shot that the Philly goalie stopped. But the rebound came right back to Fehr, and he potted what would prove to be the game-winner for his fifth of the preseason.


Philly defenseman Mark Streit took a hi-sticking minor at 4:06, and the Caps’ No. 8 needed just seven seconds to tally his second power-play goal of the night to give Washington some breathing room at 5-3.


Perreault’s unassisted strike in the final minute accounted for the Caps’ sixth goal of the night and the 6-3 final.


FEHR ON FIRE, FEHR IN PAIRS – For the second consecutive game, Fehr scored twice on the night.


MULTIPLE MEN – Four Capitals had multiple-point games on Friday against the Flyers. Fehr had two goals and an assist, Carrick had three helpers, Perreault had a goal and two assists (and probably should have been credited with a third helper on Washington’s first goal) and Ovechkin had two goals.


SIX PACK – Grabovski has at least one assist in each of his three preseason games this fall and he has earned six helpers to lead the Caps in that department during the exhibition season.


TWO SECONDS – In addition to the Wilson-Schenn fight, another bout occurred just two seconds after a Washington goal. Byers went with Philly’s Adam Hall just two seconds after Wilson’s goal made it 3-0.


A BAKER’S DOZEN – For the third consecutive contest, the Caps had at least three fights in a game. And for the second time in three games, the Capitals dropped the mitts five times in a game.


Washington and Boston engaged in five fights on Monday, the Caps and Preds went three times on Wednesday and the Capitals and Flyers squared off five times in Friday’s home preseason finale.


During the truncated 48-game 2012-13 season, the Caps had a total of 16 fighting majors.


ONLY ONE – Philadelphia finished its preseason with a 1-5-1 mark.  The Flyers open their season on Wednesday when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs in Philadelphia.