PHILADELPHIA | In the aftermath of a confounding 5-4 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Washington Capitals were left to wonder what went so wrong after they quickly built a two-goal lead in the third period.
There was 13:12 left when Alex Ovechkin scored on the power play, and the Flyers didn’t have much going for the next five minutes. Then Caps right wing Troy Brouwer was whistled for holding Claude Giroux in the offensive zone.
“I was just coming around the net,” Brouwer said. “I just tried to get a little body positioning on him I thought he leaned into me a little bit but I looked at the replay, my stick was in his stomach. They’re going to call that every day.”
The biggest turning point of the game looked to be Steve Oleksy’s hit on Giroux that led to Jake Voracek’s double-minor, as Washington scored twice and seized control. But Brouwer’s penalty with 7:28 left gave the Flyers a chance.
Giroux, fired up from his own turnover that led to Marcus Johansson’s power-play goal, scored 16 seconds into the power play to cut the score to 4-3. Brouwer took responsibility.
“I got to take some onus because they gave us a five-on-three, they gave us a four-minute power play, they gave us another power play right after we just scored two goals on our PP,” he said. “We know they’re going to call one against us, whether it’s warranted whether it’s not. You know it’s going to come around. It’s just careless on my part.”
Coach Adam Oates said it was a play Brouwer would want back because the Flyers weren’t doing any damage behind their own net at the time.
“But it happens,” Oates said. “We let them score too quick. You can’t score in  seconds. That gave them a lot of life and then here they come, and we hung on fine till the last 10 seconds.”
With 9.5 seconds left, Kimmo Timonen tied the score at 4, and the Flyers won it in overtime on Ruslan Fedotenko’s goal.
Asked about the unpredictability of games given the Caps’ recent stretch, defenseman Mike Green said: “It’s a matter of doing the right things at the right time. That penalty killed us, we’ve talked about it all year and it can’t happen. Whether it was a bad call or whatever that’s not the point. It just can’t happen at that time in the game.”
Green scored the tying goal Saturday in Buffalo with 39.2 seconds left. He had the crucial turnover that led to the New York Islanders’ game-winning goal in Tuesday’s loss and did not speak to reporters afterward.
Brouwer scored the first goal of the Caps’ comeback at the Sabres, short-handed early in the third period.
Ovechkin said the loss was “not about Troy’s penalty” and that Timonen should not have gotten the shot he did to score with 9.5 seconds on the clock.
But the tide shifted on Brouwer’s penalty.
“There was a long time left in the game and we had to keep going,” Johansson said. “I think we did a good job of it, but we got that penalty there and it was tough and when they’re coming from behind like that, they’re pretty good.”