There hasn't been a more important player to the Flyers three games in the Toronto bubble than Scott Laughton.
Laughton scored the game-winner in overtime in the Flyers exhibition game against Pittsburgh. He had another goal on Sunday against Boston in the first Round Robin game. And in the second Round Robin game against the Capitals on Thursday, he was again part of a dominant line that fueled a victory.
Laughton scored twice in the Flyers 3-1 win over the Capitals, setting them up for a battle for the top seed on Saturday against Tampa Bay.
The Flyers had a couple of early chances to get on the board, getting a pair of power plays in the first 10 minutes of the period. Though they failed to score on both, they did eventually get the first goal of the game.
Off a turnover in the corner by Radko Gudas, Kevin Hayes centered to the front of the net for Travis Konecny. Konecny had to reach for the puck to gain control, then alertly threw it to the front of the net for Laughton, who fired into an empty net to give the Flyers the 1-0 lead at 13:03. It was Laughton's third goal in three games since the Flyers arrived in Toronto.
Following the goal, the Flyers had to kill off two penalties, including one in the final two minutes of the period. Shots through 20 minutes were 8-6 Flyers.
The parade to the penalty box continued in the second. The Flyers had four power plays in the period — though two were abbreviated — but failed to take advantage.
During a stretch of play at 4-on-4, the Flyers did cash in. Hayes picked up his second assist of the game, making a nice saucer pass to Travis Sanheim cutting to the net. Sanheim faked on the backhand, then lifted a shot over Braden Holtby to make it 2-0 Flyers.
Both teams had dangerous chances late in the period. Brian Elliott came up with a big save on a breakaway for Jakub Vrana. At the other end, Holtby robbed Laughton on a two-on-one chance.
Through two periods, shots were even at 13 apiece.
The Flyers kept the pressure on to start the third and did what they had in Sunday's win, holding the Capitals without any space to operate. They turned their offensive pressure into another goal at the 8:37 mark of the period. It was Laughton again, finishing with a tip of a Hayes pass to make it 3-0.
But just 12 seconds later, the Capitals got on the board as Carl Hagelin threw a shot to the net that was deflected by Travis Boyd and leaked through the five-hole of Elliott.
The Flyers held the Capitals at bay the rest of the way. Just like on Sunday, chances were limited for the opposition, as the Capitals finished the third period with just four shots. The Flyers added eight to their total.
Elliott made a couple of big saves on a penalty kill in the third and finished the game with 16 saves on 17 shots. Holtby stopped 18 of 21 shots.
The Flyers locked up a top-two seed with the win and will now face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday in a winner-take-all game for the top seed. Game time is still to be determined.
- PHI Scott Laughton (2) (Travis Konecny, Kevin Hayes) 13:03
- PHI Travis Sanheim (1) (Hayes, Laughton) 11:30
- PHI Laughton (3) (Hayes, Konecny) 8:37
- WSH Travis Boyd (1) (Carl Hagelin, Radko Gudas) 8:49