Anterro Niittymaki was superb in that first period for the Flyers (18-8-6, 42, second in Atlantic Division), making several outstanding saves in the barrage, while Caps goalie Brent Johnson allowed a soft goal to Jeoffrey Lupul to exit the period down 1-0. Niittymaki made 47 saves for the game.
Jeff Carter scored a pair of goals in the second for Philly, an even-strength goal at 15:11 and a short-handed one less tha a minute later that fairly well closed the door. Carter has 24 goals on the season, tying him with Tomas Vanek of Buffalo for the league lead.
Coach Bruce Boudreau lifted Johnson at the start of the third period for Jose Theodore, to no avail. The Caps took eight penalties and allowed four more goals, including a hat trick to forward Scott Hartnell. Theodore saved just 11 of 15 shots faced in the third period, his first appearance since suffering a hip flexor injury in practice two weeks ago.
Already missing Alexander Semin due to a cross-check in Thursday's win over St. Louis, Washington lost defenseman Tom Poti early in the first period after he tweaked his groin, an injury that kept him out of multiple games at the beginning of the month.
Brooks Laich collected the Caps only goal, with a nice backhander off a feed from Tomas Fleischmann. It was Laich's eighth goal of the season.
The game featured plenty of big hits and three fights, two with Donald Brashear squaring off with Philly tough guy Riley Cote. Matt Bradley mixed it up with Josh Gratton later in the third.
Carolina lost its matinee to Boston as well, 4-2, so the Caps retain their eight point lead in the division.
Washington travels to New York Tuesday to face the Rangers, leaders of the Atlantic Division.
WAS: Laich (8) from Fleischmann (3-5:09)
PHI: Lupul (11) from Hartnell and Carle (1-4:29); Carter (23) from Lupul and Albert (2-15:11); Carter (24) from Coburn and Knuble (2-16:05-SH); Hartnell (11) from Lupul (3-4:45); Hartnell (12) from Carle and Timonen (3-7:29-PP); Gagne (17) from Carter and Timonen (3-9:19-PP); Hartnell (13) from Lupul and Carter (3-16:25)
1. A. Niittymaki - PHI (Saves: 47, Save Pct: .979)
2. S. Hartnell - PHI (Goals: 3, Assists: 1)
3. J. Carter - PHI (Goals: 2, Assists: 2)