Collectively, the Flyers will not be feeling good about this season once it ends on Monday.
But personally, Alex Lyon should.
Lyon was a wall for most of the night, but the Capitals scored late in regulation and again in overtime to escape with a 2-1 win Saturday night.
Lyon, an unrestricted free agent after the season, had stopped the Capitals’ first 36 shots before Lars Eller forced overtime with a goal with 40 seconds remaining. Washington was coming off a late power play and had pulled its goalie when Eller slipped a shot through Lyon’s five hole.
Conor Sheary won it in the 3-on-3 overtime.
“It would have been good for Alex to get another win,” coach Alain Vigneault said, “but unfortunately we weren’t able to get the job done.”
Lyon, who has never had a shutout in 15 career starts, finished with 38 saves.
“It’s super-frustrating,” said Lyon, who made just four starts this season and appeared once in relief. The rest of the time he was parked in neutral on the club’s taxi squad as the required third goalie.
“As good as you play, you still give up a goal in the last 40 seconds and then you give one up in overtime and lose the game,” he said, glumly.
The Capitals needed to win in regulation to stay alive in the division race. Instead, Pittsburgh won the East. Washington, Boston, and the New York Islanders have clinched the other three spots.
Scott Laughton’s third-period laser was the game’s first goal as offense was hard to come by on the choppy ice at Washington’s Capital One Arena.
The shorthanded Capitals were forced to dress just 17 skaters when stars John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom were scratched shortly before faceoff. Alexander Ovechkin missed his third consecutive game and seven of the last eight.
Among Lyon’s better saves was a stop on Carl Hagelin, who had gotten free midway through the second period. He also Eller in overtime and Justin Schultz on a one-timer just before Eller’s regulation goal.
The most newsworthy items to come out of the first two periods were injuries to a couple of the Caps’ top players. Tom Wilson returned from a scary, knee on knee collision with Nic Aube-Kubel. But T.J. Oshie did not. He also got tangled up with Aube-Kubel and seemed to be favoring his hip or groin as he skated gingerly back to the bench.
The Flyers will conclude their season on Monday when New Jersey visits the Wells Fargo Center.
With Carter Hart the No. 1 goalie entering next year, a decision is looming for the Flyers and Lyon, who will be 29 in December. Does he come back and try for the backup job? Does he explore the market? And what about Elliott, who also is a free agent?
“Given how the season’s gone, not being able to play [much], It’s nice to string together a few performances that I feel good about,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m doing anything crazy. I just feel like I’m playing my game. It just gives me confidence to do the things I’m doing.”
Rookie defenseman Cam York was banged around and pressured more than in Friday’s debut, but he also drew a penalty for the second consecutive game. ... Ivan Provorov committed a career-high three minor penalties. ... The Flyers were miserable on their two power-play opportunities and were 3-23 in their eight games against the Caps. ... Washington outshout the Flyers 18-7 in the third period.