The Philadelphia Flyers gave away two points to a division rival, the Washington Capitals, on Sunday afternoon by losing 5-4 in a shootout. They will have a rematch against the Capitals on Tuesday night in the second game of this home-and-home series.
The Flyers came out a little bit sloppy. They did not look bad, but they made a few mental mistakes. Claude Giroux took a penalty only a minute and a half into the game, but the Flyers killed it off. About half way through the period, Michael Raffl took a slashing penalty. The Capitals took advantage of the opportunity and took a 1-0 lead off of a power play goal that was originially credited to Marcus Johansson. However, it has since been credited to Alexander Ovechkin because it deflected into the net off of Kimmo Timonen’s skate and not Johansson’s stick. The Flyers missed on a power play opportunity of their own, but were able to cash in before the end of the period. Jakub Voracek pressured the Capitals defensemen into a turnover, Raffl ended up with the puck, and he fed Giroux in the slot. Giroux tied up the game with only 54 seconds remaining in the period. The period ended up 1-1 and the Flyers were leading in shots 8-7.
The Flyers picked up their play in the second period. The lone goal of the period was scored by Mark Streit. Raffl made a beautiful touch pass to give Streit a one-on-one situation at the top of the circles. Streit rifled a wrist shot past Philipp Grubauer to give the Flyers the lead. The Flyers did a good job of staying disciplined in the second period. They took only one minor penalty, a hook by Scott Hartnell in the final minute of the period. The period ended with the Flyers winning 2-1 and ahead in shots 17-14.
The Flyers came out in the third period and initially looked to be taking over the game. They were dominating play and scored two goals in the first 3:32 of the period. Sean Couturier sent an angle shot past Grubauer for the Flyers third goal and Jakub Voracek deflected in a Michael Raffl shot to give the Flyers a three goal lead. The Flyers continued to play well until about mid-way through the period. With 8:40 left in the regulation, Mike Green snapped a shot past Steve Mason to pull the Capitals within two. The Capitals began pressing and the rest of the period seemed to have an aura of inevitability. Dimitri Orlov scored with only three and a half minutes remaining and Alexander Ovechkin tied the game in the final minute. Regulation ended with the game tied 4-4.
The overtime period went back and forth with neither team able to get a game winning goal. The game went to a shootout in which most Flyers fans knew they would lose. Eric Fehr was the first shooter for the Capitals. His shot deflected off of Mason’s shoulder and it looked to be a save. The puck then slowly trickled by Mason into the goal. Any dreams we had of watching the Flyers defeat the Capitals via shootout were just about gone with that shot. Read and Couturier missed for the Flyers and Ovechkin missed for the Capitals. Giroux scored for the Flyers, but Nicklas Backstrom scored to finish the Flyers off.
-This game is further proof that the Flyers are not a contender. To put it simply, good teams close out games. The Flyers did not. Why they are unable to put forth a full 60 minute effort is beyond me.
-Mason was not terrible, but he was not great either. He did not look as sharp as he has for most of the season. This is the third time since his start in Dallas in which Mason has allowed four goals. Granted, at least one, maybe more, of the goals was deflected off of a Flyers player. I still think he looked shaky.
-The top-line of Raffl-Giroux-Voracek came to play. Each player recorded at least a point. Raffl had three assists, Giroux had a goal and an assist, and Voracek scored a goal.
-This game seemed to be a microcosm of the whole season. The Flyers have shown flashes of brilliance and flashes of downright bad play. It was all on display this afternoon and the Flyers came out on the losing end of a game they should have won.
The Flyers come home to take on the Capitals again on Tuesday night. Get your Flyers tickets here.