WASHINGTON — Just when it seemed like the visiting Flyers were showing signs of life in their eventual 9-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, the hosts drove the dagger in deeper Tuesday night.

Early in the second period down 3-1, the Flyers mustered a solid shift in the offensive zone against a Capitals defense that had been suffocating them all game long, registering four shot attempts. However, after Tom Wilson sparked the transition rush, Lars Eller scored in a matter of seconds to pull ahead to a three-goal lead.

The Capitals scored at will all night long, with eight skaters finding the back of the net. Eller led the way with two goals. Washington’s nine goals marked the most scored against the Flyers this season. James van Riemsdyk scored both of the Flyers’ goals, marking his eighth and ninth in his last 20 games.

“We clearly were not good enough tonight,” interim coach Mike Yeo said. “And that’s the result.”

But even more notable than the defeat itself, the Flyers suffered major losses coming out of the first intermission when starting goalie Carter Hart and winger Cam Atkinson would not return for the rest of the night with lower body injuries. Backup Martin Jones noticed Hart “laboring his right leg a little bit” in the last five minutes of the period and learned he would be taking over for Hart at intermission.

In his 700th career game, Atkinson took a hard hit along the boards from Wilson in the first period. Wilson was called for boarding and likely contributed to the end of Atkinson’s night. Yeo did not have an update on either player after the game and called them both doubtful to play Wednesday night against the New York Rangers.

Ovechkin’s revenge

Through the first three games of the season between the Flyers and the Capitals, star winger Alex Ovechkin didn’t register a point and was minus-3. However, early in the first period of the team’s fourth meeting this season on Tuesday, Ovechkin put the Capitals on the board first.

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A turnover in the Flyers’ zone led to a Capitals transition rush. Ovechkin put a shot on Hart from the left faceoff circle, got behind defenseman Cam York, and scored on a backhander on his own rebound to give the Capitals the 1-0 edge. Ovechkin’s goal opened the floodgates for the Capitals in the first period, as they scored three goals on 10 shots for a 3-1 lead. In total, Ovechkin finished the night with a goal, an assist, and was plus-3.

Broken coverages and broken ankles

The Flyers struggled with defensive breakdowns throughout the game, which played a factor in the Capitals racking up a total of nine goals. On their second goal in the first period, winger T.J. Oshie camped out all alone at the left post, scoring on a pass from John Carlson at the top of the right faceoff circle. Van Riemsdyk scored on a breakaway to pull the Flyers into the fight, but just over a minute later, defenseman Martin Fehervary danced around Ronnie Attard and slipped the puck past Hart to pull the Capitals ahead, 3-1.

In the second period with the Capitals up, 4-1, Attard and Ivan Provorov chased the puck up high in the defensive zone, leaving winger Conor Sheary all alone on Jones’ doorstep. Sheary put the moves on Jones to score the Capitals’ fifth goal of the night. Matt Irwin, Eller, Garnet Hathaway, and Johan Larsson padded the Capitals’ overwhelming total.

“There was a lot of turnovers and puck battles seemed to go their way,” Jones said. “Just a lot of different things. We just didn’t have the best stuff tonight.”

Bobby Hockey

Hobey Baker Award finalist and national champion Bobby Brink made his NHL debut against the Capitals, skating on the third line at right wing alongside center Morgan Frost and van Riemsdyk. Most notably, Brink earned a spot on the Flyers’ top power-play unit. On the Flyers’ first power play opportunity of the night, Brink showed why he was an important fixture on Denver’s power play, setting up a shot in the slot.

Brink saw an increased workload throughout the night after Atkinson left the game, racking up 14:27 of ice time. Roughly halfway through the third period, Brink made an impressive play off an offensive zone entry to set up Kevin Hayes for a scoring chance. He later notched an assist on van Riemsdyk’s power play goal late in the third period. Brink finished the game with two shots on goal and an even in plus-minus. He was one of just six Flyers who didn’t end the game in the negative.

“Definitely hoping it could have been a little bit better with the result of the game,” Brink said. “But it was definitely nice to play a game. And a dream come true.”

What’s next

The Flyers return home on Wednesday to play the Rangers at 7 p.m. on the second night of a back-to-back.