At some point early on in the season the Flyers were going to show their age, well that is exactly what happened tonight. It started off with a bang, but like the crowd in the third period, it ended with silence, as the Washington Capitals beat the Flyers Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Early on it was evident that the Flyers were going to have to fight excruciatingly hard to pull off a win. Not just because of how good the opposition was, but because they continued to shoot themselves in the skate. That first period was chock full of turnover after turnover, yet somehow at the 14:48 mark Wayne Simmonds got the puck to Claude Giroux who accelerated and created a breakaway opportunity that was finished off with a move that simply undressed Thomas Vokoun. Even though the Flyers were up 1-0 you just knew at some point that the Caps were going to capitalize off of those turnovers.
The last minute and a half of the first period tilted the game. Scott Hartnell turned the puck over right to Mathieu Perreault who fired one at the net, it deflected off of Braden Coburn’s stick and past Bryzgalov. Just over a minute later the Capitals struck again, as Alex Ovechkin scored his second goal of the season. All of the momentum that the Flyers had built up was taken away in the last 1:20 of the first period.
Even though they lost the lead in that flurry of goals, the Flyers controlled the play of the second period, outshooting the Caps 14-10 and dominating the flow of the game, but it didn’t result in any goals. That was ultimately the difference in the game.
What once looked like a game that was primed to be another early season thriller was blown wide open with three early third period goals by the Washington Capitals. Roman Hamrilk got the party started with a goal at the 2:23 mark. Then Alex Ovechkin out muscled Max Talbot on a snapper that flew over Bryzgalov’s shoulder at the 3:54 mark, it was Ovie’s second goal of the game. Joel Ward completed the trio of goals at the 4:48 mark on a deflection off of a wrister near the blue line that Bryz never saw.
It was a rather strange play in that Bryzgalov went behind the net to clear the puck, which went right to a Capital who flung it back off of the boards and you know the rest. Bryz moved really slow on the play and never got set to make a save. Three goals in a five shot span ultimately doomed the Flyers.
Sean Couturier finally gave the Wells Fargo Center some energy with a garbage time goal, which should be good for his confidence going forward. This was a night that a positive like this was outweighed by the negatives.
The turnovers have been mentioned, but the penalties have not. Yet again the Flyers gave the opposition momentum when it could least afford to. Three first period penalties including a four minute double minor for high-sticking committed by Coburn, did not kill the Flyers, but it didn’t exactly help a team that was struggling to find its footing. It was the Chris Pronger tripping penalty in the third period that provided the kill shot. Give Alex Ovechkin six power play attempts and he is bound to score on one of them.
Having to constantly kill the power play stopped any chance of gaining momentum in this game. Yes in the second period Danny Briere did commit a a high sticking penalty, but they were able to fight through that kill and regain the momentum that had been built up. The Flyers were just not able to capitalize off of that mometum.
The reason why they couldn’t take advantage of the momentum was due to the lack of second and third chances after the initial shot. Thomas Vokoun and the defense did an outstanding job of making sure that they were not burned off of a rebound or deflection.
Even though the Caps were out shot 41-28, they just out classed the Flyers in this one. Right now they have to be considered the best team in the league. It will be very important to see how the young guns respond after a whooping like this. They get a chance to redeem themselves Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues
What I liked about the Flyers:
– Another highlight reel goal from Giroux who is making that a theme of the season. Five goals in six games.
– Even though it was at the end of the third period, get used to seeing a lot of goals like that from Sean Couturier. Nice confidence builder for him.
– Fighting through losing the momentum in the second period after a bad penalty by Briere. Too bad it didn’t result in a goal.
– Brayden Schenn’s physical play.
What I didn’t like about the Flyers:
– I thought they really looked lost at times on defense, I know that the Caps can move the puck with the best of them, but they were allowed to just set up in the attack zone way too often.
– Not a good game for Ilya. He looked lost on that 5th goal and was giving up fat rebounds all night. The rebounds have been noticeable for a couple games now.
– Lack of second chance opportunities.
– Brayden Schenn’s debut: -3 rating, 1 SOG, 11:02 TOI.
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