Capitals-Flyers Preview

Jason Chimera likely won't score an easier non-empty net goal in his life. Steve Mason likely won't be more embarrassed after allowing it.

The 101-foot dump that five-holed Mason proved to be the Game 2 winner for the Washington Capitals and sent the Philadelphia Flyers home having to battle back against the Presidents' Trophy holders who apparently have luck on their side, too.

If Mason can help the Flyers overcome an 0-2 deficit beginning Monday night, he'll probably wind up laughing about the taunts he heard in D.C. For now, he's just trying to keep his mind right.

"Can say it over and over again, 'It's a bad goal,'" Mason said. "That wasn't good. My fault, obviously. Put the team in a tough position after that. Just a bad goal."

Chimera's wacky goal early in the second period Saturday put Washington ahead by two on its way to a 4-1 victory. John Carlson and Alex Ovechkin scored on the power play and Nicklas Backstrom added a goal in third two nights after Mason made 27 saves in a 2-0 loss in Game 1.

The Capitals killed a crucial 5-on-3 disadvantage and held on to take a two-game edge in a series they haven't exactly dominated.

"Not a pretty one, but we'll take it," said Ovechkin, who needs another point to match Dale Hunter's franchise playoff record. "It's done, we'll move forward and Game 3 ahead."

Braden Holtby sympathized with Mason and said he couldn't even watch the replay knowing how Mason must've felt. Holtby's 41 saves all were on much more difficult pucks to stop in another solid performance following Thursday's 19-save shutout.

Holtby made a key save during the two-man disadvantage and fended off the Flyers' push in the third. It's nothing surprising to his teammates, who watched Holtby match Martin Brodeur's regular-season record of 48 victories.

"He's making saves all over the place," said forward Marcus Johansson, who had two assists. "He wins games every week and he's done it all year. He was a huge part in this one."

Aside from Mason's gaffe, Philadelphia is heading home proud of how it has played despite the results. The Flyers' 42 shots marked their most in a non-overtime playoff game since 2009 and kept Holtby on his heels.

Unfortunately, only Jakub Voracek has broken through with his 4-on-4 tally in the second period Saturday.

"We keep playing the way we are right now, we're going to start being successful," center Claude Giroux said. "We can't look at it like we're down 2-0 and we're going to start changing things. Our identity, the way we want to play, our hard work I think is going to pay off, so we're going to stick with it."

It's not as if Washington is unbeatable in these situations, either. The Capitals blew a 2-0 lead to the New York Rangers in the first round in 2013 and surrendered a 3-1 edge to the Rangers in last year's Eastern Conference semifinals.

They haven't advanced to the conference finals since losing to Detroit in the 1998 Stanley Cup Final, but coach Barry Trotz isn't doubting his team one bit.

"We learned a lot from last year," Trotz said. "The adjustments we've made ... have been really, really smart."

Washington has lost 10 of its last 12 road games in the playoffs, but its 27 away victories this season were the second-most in the league. The Flyers closed the regular season 4-0-1 at home, including a shootout victory over the Capitals on March 30.