WASHINGTON -- The team with one of the NHL's most prolific offenses used stifling defense to win its playoff opener.
John Carlson and Jay Beagle scored, Braden Holtby stopped 19 shots and the Washington Capitals defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 in Game 1 of their first round playoff series.
Holtby, who tied the NHL record with 48 regular-season wins, helped the Capitals kill off four Philadelphia power plays -- including three in the first period -- as he picked up his third career postseason shutout.
"He's been great all year ... standing on his head winning us games, stealing us games," Beagle said. "With a bunch of PKs you have to rely on the goaltender quite a bit. He obviously stood on his head again tonight."
The Capitals then limited the Flyers to just eight shots on goal over the final two periods.
"The game's about time and space and I thought we did a good job of not giving them a lot of time and space," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.
With the Capitals pressuring in the Philadelphia end late in the second period, the puck deflected off the stick of Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning and into the crowd. The officials conferred briefly and Manning was sent to the box for delay of game at 16:02.
I haven't had a chance to look at it closely," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "I would assume they got it right."
Only 19 seconds later, Carlson's blast from the point deflected off a Philadelphia's Chris VandeVelde and skittered by Mason to give Washington the lead.
The Capitals picked up some insurance with 3:23 left when Beagle beat Mason with a wrist shot from the slot after Marcus Johansson set him up by stealing the puck from Jakub Voracek in the neutral zone.
Johansson had two assists for Washington, which went 1-for-6 on the power play.
Mason was solid for the Flyers, finishing with 29 saves.
"We've just got to put more pucks on net," Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds said. "Holtby's a heck of a goaltender. You can't just have the one shot. We've got to take his eyes away and we've got to get second and third opportunities and stay on him."
Sean Couturier, the Flyers second-line center, left in the second period with what appeared to be a left arm injury and did not return. Hakstol didn't have an update on his condition after the game.
Thursday's opener was a tight, physical game between teams that took different paths to the playoffs.
Washington amassed 120 points during the season. They were playing their first meaningful game since clinching the Presidents' Cup on March 28, and won just two of their final seven regular-season games (2-2-3).
The eighth-seeded Flyers were five points out of a playoff spot on Feb. 25 and went 15-5-3 in their final 23 games to earn a wild-card spot on the last weekend of the regular season.
"I really liked our effort. That was a tough hard hockey game," Hakstol said. "There's some things that we'll clean up and talk about, some things that certainly we can do better in a lot of different respects."
Despite three chances in the first period, the Flyers couldn't cash in against what was the league's second best penalty-killing unit during the regular season.
With less than two minutes left in the period and the teams at equal strength, Holtby stopped Matt Read from point blank range to keep the game scoreless.
Washington failed on its first man-advantage early in the second, but kept the pressure on throughout the period as they outshot the Flyers 14-4.
"That's a good hockey team with a lot of speed, a lot of deadly weapons and I just think we stuck to our structure," Carlson said. "We were able to, in the second and third especially, just keep them to the outside and slow them down through the neutral zone."
NOTES: The Capitals and Flyers are meeting in the postseason for the fifth time, and the first since the 2008 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, which Philadelphia won in seven games. ... Washington RW T.J. Oshie, who was hit by a puck in practice Wednesday, was in the lineup. The Capitals scratched D Taylor Chorney, D Mike Weber, C Michael Latta and RW Stanislav Galiev. ... The Flyers wore a jersey patch in honor of team founder and chairman Ed Snider, who died Monday at the age of 83. ... Philadelphia scratches included C Jordan Weal, C R.J. Umberger, LW Scott Naughton and D Evgeny Medvedev. ... The teams split four regular season meetings with Philadelphia's wins coming in overtime and a shootout.