The Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals was a powder keg waiting to explode Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
The both teams erupted for a combined ten goals and a line brawl ignited by a hit from Luke Schenn.
When the game was over, the Flyers won 6-4 thanks to a three-point night from captain Claude Giroux. Jakub Voracek also scored two goals, and Matt Read had two assists. The win vaulted the Flyers to a two-point cushion over the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
After mounting a two-goal comeback on Sunday, it would be fair to think the Capitals would come out and try to control the game from the first puck drop. The exact opposite happened. Through the first two periods, the Flyers dominated play. When the third period started, the Flyers were up 4-1.
The Flyers’ three-goal lead would not last long. Alex Ovechkin scored on the power play, and Troy Brouwer scored to cut the Flyers’ lead to one.
Almost two and a half minutes later, the Flyers responded with a goal from Voracek to give them a two-goal lead once again.
Soon after Voracek’s goal, Mark Streit was called for hooking. Brooks Laich would score for the Capitals to sever the lead to one goal with six minutes to play. The Flyers would hold during the final minutes and Steve Downie would seal the game with an empty-net goal.
Giroux opened the scoring in the first with a beautiful goal set up by Sean Couturier. A bouncing puck landed in front of the Capitals’ bench, and Couturier eliminated his man on the boards. Giroux saw the loose puck and darted toward it with Ovechkin on his back. Giroux fought off Ovechkin and cut toward the net. Goaltender Braden Holtby lunged for a poke check, but Giroux dipped his shoulder and maneuvered the puck around Holtby and into the back of the net. The goal was Giroux’s 21st of the season.
Not long after Giroux put the Flyers up, Troy Brouwer was called for slashing. While on the power play, Giroux made a pass through traffic to Voracek who skated to the
top of the slot and scored. Voracek became the recipient of a play he made prior to the goal. Giroux lost the faceoff and the Capitals tried to clear the puck, but Voracek hugged the boards and kept the play in the offensive zone.
Less than three minutes after Voracek’s goal, Luke Schenn laid a clean hit on Ryan Stoa. Tom Wilson, who has become a frequent character when the Flyers and Capitals play one another, took exception to the hit and challenged Schenn to a fight. What sparked an entire line brawl was half because Schenn’s and Stoa’s legs were tied up, and the other half was Wayne Simmonds. While Stoa was kneeling on the ice, Simmonds gave him a brush on the chin. John Erskine and Jay Beagle saw this and apprehended Simmonds. The linesmen got in between the players, but Erksine kept talking and soon he and Vincent Lecavalier got tangled up.
When the referees separated everyone, Lecavalier and Erskine were ejected, and the Flyers had a two-minute penalty to kill.
The second period was much like the first. Giroux’s second goal was a result of great forechecking from Hartnell. Micahel Raffl redirected a blue-line-shot from Luke Schenn to put the Flyers up 4-0. During a late power play in the second period, the Capitals would score their first of the game. Mike Green fired the puck from the blue line, and Joel Ward got his stick on it.
The victory was the Flyers’ seventh in their last eight games. The team’s next game will be against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
*Video of the line brawl here.
-Andrew MacDonald looked good in his first game with the Flyers. He’s a great skater, looked comfortable with the puck and played his assignments well.
-The Luke Schenn and Andrew MacDonald played very well together.
-Aside from the Ovechkin goal, I cannot really fault Mason for the other three he allowed. Two of the goals were deflections and the Brouwer goal was a humongous defensive lapse.
-I was worried the Flyers would come out slacking in the third.
-We already know this, but Claude Giroux is a beast. The man took over and dominated for his second straight three-point game.