The Flyers were 40 seconds away from recording rare back-to-back wins and securing a first career shutout for Alex Lyon.
Those feats slipped out of their fingertips as the Flyers suffered a 2-1 overtime loss Saturday night to the Capitals at Capital One Arena.
With only one game remaining in their perplexing 2020-21 campaign, the Flyers (24-23-8) will finish the season having won consecutive games only once since the start of March. Going back to the beginning of that month, in games after a victory, the Flyers went 1-11-1 and were outscored 67-29.
Despite Washington missing its leading scorer, No. 1 goal scorer, top defenseman and playing its third-string goalie, the Flyers struggled to control play for stretches of the game and were outshot 40-29.
"Got to be a professional, come to the rink and be ready on Monday and have a good game at home in front of our fans," Scott Laughton said postgame. "Finish the right way and be a pro for your teammates."
This season, the Flyers finished 2-5-1 against the Capitals (35-15-5), who were missing Alex Ovechkin (lower body), Nicklas Backstrom (lower body), John Carlson (lower body) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (COVID protocols) in the regular-season series finale between the two clubs.
Washington then had scares with wingers T.J. Oshie and Tom Wilson.
Oshie was banged up late during the second period when Nicolas Aube-Kubel cut him off along the boards. Oshie did not return for the final stanza.
Wilson exited the game following a first-period collision with Aube-Kubel. Wilson's right knee appeared to slightly hyperextend, but he was able to return to the game in the middle frame.
With the Capitals failing to win in regulation, the Penguins were crowned East Division champions.
• Coming off his first NHL victory since Feb. 1, 2020, Lyon had to stomach a tough-luck loss instead of enjoying a sweet final hurrah. He recorded 38 saves in his last start of the season.
"Just super frustrating," Lyon said. "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 you lose the game. There's still learning experiences to be had."
He made a huge stop in overtime on Lars Eller. He kept the game scoreless when he denied Carl Hagelin's breakaway attempt in the second period.
When Washington emptied its net, Eller scored the equalizer with under a minute left in regulation. Conor Sheary scored the overtime winner that just squeezed past Lyon.
"He played extremely well," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. "Disappointing I'm sure for our whole group that we let that one slip away. It would have been another solid win for the young man."
The 28-year-old has played 22 games for the Flyers over the last four seasons and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
The veteran Craig Anderson, who turns 40 years old this month, made 28 saves for the Capitals.
• Breaking the ice on a scoreless game in the third period, Laughton whipped home a shot for his ninth goal and 20th point of the season.
Laughton has a team-best plus-13 rating, which is nothing to scoff at considering the Flyers have a minus-40 goal differential.
Over the last two seasons, Laughton has 22 goals, 25 assists and a plus-26 rating.
• Following a solid NHL debut in which he put his strengths on display, the 20-year-old Cam York played his second game and finished with 20:34 minutes. He saw the ice in overtime but wasn't as noticeable in this game.
After drawing a penalty in his debut, York drew another to put the Flyers on their first power play in the middle stanza of a scoreless game. The Flyers were a mess on the man advantage opportunity, failing to record a shot.
The Flyers' power play went 0 for 2 with one shot.
• Ivan Provorov had a rough game. The durable defenseman compiled six penalty minutes and had difficulty handling some passes.
The Flyers' penalty kill finished 4 for 4.
• The Flyers come home for their season finale Monday against the Devils (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
Brian Elliott will start for the Flyers. The 36-year-old veteran can also become a UFA in the offseason.
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