Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Braden Holtby recorded his 15th career shutout and the Washington Capitals clipped the Philadelphia Flyers, 1-0, at Verizon Center.
Holtby, who authored a contentious 7-0 whitewash against Wednesday's opponent back on Nov. 1, 2013, enjoyed a calmer decision this time around, stopping all 21 shots he faced to record his fourth clean sheet this season.
Jason Chimera supplied the necessary offense early in the first period for the Capitals, who improved to 6-0-1 in the month of January.
"It's ramped up a little bit higher when the Flyers are in town. We haven't played a lot of our Metro Division -- the Rangers, the Flyers -- so we could tell how there was a different energy in the building," said Caps head coach Barry Trotz.
Rob Zepp made 25 saves but suffered his first NHL defeat in his third career start for the Flyers, who were coming off a 3-1-0 homestand including a 7-3 win over Tampa Bay on Monday.
The Flyers went with an extra skater for the game's final 1:23, and the Caps were fortunate the game did not progress beyond regulation. Holtby received some luck as Vincent Lecavalier was unable to push a Brayden Schenn rebound into an open net from the right side of the crease with just over a minute left.
Joel Ward missed his chance to hit the vacant cage with 40 seconds to play and Flyers captain Claude Giroux flubbed a one-timer from the left circle on the visitors' next trip into the offensive zone.
"We played well, but we don't deserve a point. We missed some opportunities offensively," said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. "It was almost an empty net there (on Lecavalier's chance), but we've got to bear down and put those in."
The Caps opened the scoring at 3:13 of the first period. Chimera was caught behind the Philadelphia net as the puck approached the blue line, but Matt Niskanen kept it in and Chimera managed to redirect his shot between his legs and past a sliding Zepp.
"With the fire power we have in here, it's hard to think that you get one goal and win out. Just shows you signs that we win different ways," Chimera noted.
Zepp did his part to keep his club in the game, moving from left to right to deny Alex Ovechkin from the right side before the six-minute mark.
Holtby stayed stationary to make two quick saves on Wayne Simmonds and then swallow up a Giroux break-in less than 4 1/2 minutes into the second.
Zepp later came up with a game preserving stop. His line of vision was obscured by traffic in front, yet he was able to flash his right pad to deny Eric Fehr in close with 52 seconds left in the middle frame.
"I had to fight through some traffic to see [the shot], but I did see him pull it," Zepp related. "I saw him cut to the middle, so I just tried to use my feet to get me there. I got a good push and was able to get there.
Holtby's 1-0 decision was the first for the Capitals against the Flyers since Clint Malarchuk was in net at the Spectrum on Jan. 26, 1989 ... Washington last recorded a 1-0 win against Philadelphia at home on Jan. 31, 1988, when Kelly Miller netted the game winner with 1:33 left in overtime ... Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo returned to the Philly lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last 26 games ... He had replaced Braydon Coburn who is out for a month after blocking a shot off his left instep on Monday night ... Flyers forward Scott Laughton left the game and did not return after absorbing a hard open-ice hit from Niskanen late in the second period.