When we found out the Claude Giroux would be out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms, the biggest concern was offense. He leads the league in scoring, so it’s not as if we can just throw somebody else into the lineup to replace him. And that shouldn’t be the goal, anyway. However, after last nights 5-1 shellacking of the Washington Capitals, it seems as if the offense may just be alright without him.
It’s easy to say that we scored 5 goals without G in the lineup and think that the offense is fine without him. But if you actually watched the game, you have to realize that Tomas Vokoun did a horrible job in net for the Caps. He let up a pair of weak goals. I don’t want to be a complete buzzkill and say the Flyers didn’t look good, because they did. I just want to point out the our scoring was a bit inflated thanks to the shitty play of the opposing goalie.
However, what really, really impressed me was the team defense and the goaltending. For the first two period, we stifled a lineup full of offensive stars. There were exactly zero moments where the Caps had possession of the puck and the Flyers were scrambling around like ants. Instead, they were always in position to knock down passes, win battles in the corners, and simply get the puck out of their zone quickly. They weren’t suffocating to the point where Washington wasn’t able to move the puck, but they were good enough to keep most of the shots to the perimeter.
Anything that did get through to the net, Ilya Bryzgalov was on top of. He was batting pucks into corners left and right. He wasn’t giving up juicy rebounds or mishandling anything. The defense did a good job of clearing the porch for him. His view of the puck was as unobstructed as you can hope for. The defense didn’t make Bryzy’s job harder by tipping pucks in front of him. They either blocked the shot, completely, or let him make the save.
The Flyers played exactly the way they should play. They did exactly what I was hoping they would do when we found of G was hurt and would be missing some time. The teams stepped up on defense, and made the Caps pay for their mistakes. The play of the game for me was the entire sequence that finished off with Max Talbot scoring. Ovi8 came into the zone, looking to dangle and go right through Braydon Coburn. Except Cobie wasn’t having any of that, when he planted Ovechkin into the boards and tipped the puck forward to start the rush.
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