WASHINGTON -- The Philadelphia Flyers had an epic late meltdown Sunday, and what looked like an easy victory turned into a devastating defeat.
They blew a 4-1 lead and lost to the Washington Capitals in a shootout, 5-4, at the percolating Verizon Center.
Nicklas Backstrom scored what proved to be the game-winner in the shootout, sending the Flyers to their fourth straight road defeat.
Leading 4-1, the Flyers allowed three goals in the last 8 minutes, 40 seconds of regulation to force overtime. The equalizer was scored by Alex Ovechkin with 47.9 seconds left, set up by goalie Steve Mason's turnover on a clearing attempt.
The Flyers appeared on their way to avenging last month's 7-0 loss before the Caps' late flurry, one in which they scored three goals in 7:52.
Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek scored 1 minute, 14 seconds apart early in the third period to give the Flyers a 4-1 lead.
In the shootout, Couturier and Matt Read failed to score, while Claude Giroux had the Flyers' lone tally. They are 1-3 in shootouts, while Washington is 8-3.
Couturier gave the Flyers a 3-1 lead with 17:42 left, scoring from a nearly impossible angle from the goal line near the left boards, caroming the puck off rookie goalie Philipp Grubauer's left pad. Seventy-four seconds later, Voracek tipped in Raffl's shot.
The Capitals got to within 4-2 on Mike Green's goal with 8:40 to go, but a short time later the Flyers killed off a delay-of-game penalty -- their 10th this season -- to prevent Washington from getting closer.
That is, until Dmitry Orlov's point drive beat Mason high to the short side, cutting the deficit to 4-3 with 3:31 remaining. Defenseman Nick Grossmann appeared to screen Mason.
Mason made a key kick save on Troy Brouwer with about 1:35 left. But a short time later, Mason's turnover led to Ovechkin's tying goal from the high slot.
Raffl, promoted to the top line in the Flyers' previous game, has six points in the last four games.
Earlier, Mark Streit's goal snapped a 1-1 tie with 12:23 remaining in the second period, giving the veteran defenseman 300 career points.
Streit intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and fed Raffl, who made a deft return pass to set up the goal from the left circle.
In the first two periods, the Flyers threw up a defensive blanket in front of Mason, allowing a total of 14 shots.
Voracek's forechecking helped the Flyers tie the score at 1-1 with 54 seconds left in the first period. Voracek twice kept the puck in the zone, and Raffl eventually found Giroux for a one-timer from the right circle that knotted the game.
About eight minutes earlier, Washington had taken a 1-0 lead on Marcus Johansson's power-play goal, scored off a pass from Ovechkin.
Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 26 goals, was injured and did not play in the Capitals' 7-0 win over the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 1. The teams combined for 31 penalties and 164 penalty minutes in that mismatch.
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