"Our role players came through," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "You had one team [Washington] playing reckless and the other trying to get away with playing careful."
Despite being without star center Peter Forsberg and six other regulars, the Flyers won their second straight game to remain one point behind the Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers with one game left before the Olympic break.
Seconds after killing a two-man disadvantage, the Flyers went ahead 3-2 on Kapanen's power-play goal. Kapanen took a pass from Freddy Meyer and one-timed a shot from the right point past Johnson.
During a 98-second two-man advantage, the Capitals had several scoring chances, but goalie Robert Esche turned aside each attempt, including a pad save on a point-blank shot by Ovechkin.
"It was a huge turning point," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said.
Philadelphia tied it at 2 early in the second period on a rare goal by Brashear, a tough guy not known for his offensive skills. Brashear picked up a loose puck near center ice, lumbered down the right side, eluded defenseman Bryan Muir and lifted a shot over Johnson's shoulder for just his second goal.
"It's a move I practice a lot," Brashear said of the fake. "I see good players do it. I just shot it."
In the first period, Brashear stuck to dropping the gloves, squaring off with Doug Doull. The teams were feisty, with two fights in the opening 10 minutes and a minor scrum at the end of the game.
Savage scored his first goal to put the Flyers ahead 4-2 midway through the second. Joni Pitkanen, who hit the post on a shot seconds earlier, sent a cross-ice pass to Savage, who shot it into a wide-open net. Savage scored again to make it 5-2 a few minutes later.
"I finally got some bounces to go my way," said Savage, who has six goals in 43 games.
Ovechkin's power-play goal in the second cut it to 5-3. The Capitals got within 5-4 with 7:44 left when Zubrus scored with a man advantage.
But the Flyers tightened up on defense and Esche made several of his 39 saves to preserve the victory. The Capitals pulled their goalie for an extra skater and were on the power play in the final minute but still couldn't tie it.
"Esche was outstanding. He was our best player," Hitchcock said.
Washington scored two goals 76 seconds apart to take a 2-1 lead midway through the first.
Sutherby took a behind-the-net pass from Boyd Kane and flicked a shot that went in off Esche's pad to tie it at 1. Willsie scored on the power play to make it 2-1.
Gagne, who missed Wednesday night's victory over the Islanders because of a stomach virus, gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead. He ripped a slap shot from just outside the right circle through a screen and past Johnson.
Forsberg, who has a groin injury, said he felt a little better after skating in the morning, but Hitchcock said the five-time All-Star will sit out his eighth straight game on Saturday. Forsberg still hasn't made a decision on playing for Sweden in the Olympics. "He's not going to play unless he's 100 percent," Hitchcock said. ... Washington called up five players from its AHL affiliate in Hershey. ... The Flyers have five power-play goals in the last two games after an 0-for-23 slump with the man advantage.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Wells Fargo Center Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Referees: Rob Martell, Craig Spada Linesmen: Lyle Seitz, Mark Shewchyk
Attendance: 19,692 (101.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Simon Gagne (36)
Assists: Mike Knuble, Randy Jones
Brian Sutherby (11)
Assists: Boyd Kane, Ben Clymer
Brian Willsie (11)
(Power Play) Assist: Brooks Laich
Donald Brashear (2)
Sami Kapanen (9)
(Power Play) Assists: Freddy Meyer, Jeff Carter
Brian Savage (5)
(Power Play) Assists: Freddy Meyer, Mike Richards
Brian Savage (6)
(Power Play) Assists: Eric Desjardins, R.J. Umberger
Alex Ovechkin (35)
(Power Play) Assist: Dainius Zubrus
Dainius Zubrus (13)
(Power Play) Assists: Ben Clymer, Alex Ovechkin