Flyers top Capitals 2-1 in shootout

Philadelphia Flyers' Ilya Bryzgalov, of Russia, reacts after blocking a shot by Washington Capitals' Troy Brouwer, rear left, for the win during an overtime shootout of their NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 22, 2012, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 2-1. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

March 22, 2012 7:33:44 PM PDT
Matt Read and Wayne Simmonds scored shootout goals to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

Claude Giroux scored his 27th goal for the Flyers, and Alex Ovechkin had his 33rd for the Capitals.

Read scored on the first shot of the shootout against Braden Holtby, and Matt Hendricks beat Ilya Bryzgalov on Washington's first attempt.

Giroux and Ovechkin were both denied and another round came up empty for both teams. Simmonds scored, and Bryzgalov stuffed Troy Brouwer to preserve the win.

Capitals forward Alexander Semin sat out because of an undisclosed injury.

The Capitals did pick up a point and have 81, putting them one ahead of Buffalo for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Bryzgalov stopped 30 shots and improved to 9-1-1 with a 1.23 goals-against average in March.

Ovechkin needed only 26 seconds into the game to score his 33rd goal of the season, topping last season's total. Ovechkin's first shot was poked by Bryzgalov straight back to the Washington star and he pounded in the puck for the lead.

The goal made it 15 times out of the last 20 games that the Flyers have allowed the first goal. Ovechkin, who has six goals in his last five games, thumped his chest twice in celebration.

The Flyers trailed 2-0 in each of the last three games, but tied it this on one Giroux's goal. Giroux streaked down the ice on a breakaway and was surprised when Holtby strayed way out for the pokecheck. Giroux slipped around him and had nothing but an empty net in from him for the uncontested goal, one of his easiest of the season.

It was Holtby's lone mistake, as he stopped 27 shots before the shootout.

The Capitals had their chance to go up in the second period when defenseman Matt Carle tripped Marcus Johansson on the breakaway for a penalty shot. Johansson tripped up as he neared the net and the puck slid away from him.

There wouldn't be many more scoring chances until the shootout. The Flyers played beyond regulation for the third time in the last four games and remained four points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for fourth place in the Eastern Conference

Notes: Former Flyers captain Peter Forsberg was at the game. ... The Flyers won the season series 3-1. ... The Capitals hold the tiebreaker with Buffalo.