Flyers Disappoint In-Attendance Fans in 3-1 Loss to Capitals

Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Flyers hosted the Washington Capitals for their first game with fans in attendance on Sunday night. They came out strong early, but ended up with a loss, unable to overcome the Tom Wilson-less Capitals for Scott Hartnell’s debut as a color commentator.

The Flyers  welcomed back the fans in a big way as the game kicked off. They pressed hard early, outshooting the Capitals 12-2 at one point, but the building erupted for real when the white hot Joel Farabee caught a chip pass from Sean Couturier breaking free for a two on one. Philly Joel didn’t need the partner though, as he ripped a shot through the wickets of Capitals’ goalie Ilya Samsonov to open the scoring in tonight’s contest

The Flyers continued their hard press for a few more minutes until referee Wes McCauley called a phantom goalie interference penalty on Travis Konecny. The fans in attendance certainly showed their dissatisfaction, with boos and chants of “ref you suck” reigning down, but the Flyers were able to weather the storm and take a 1-0 lead into the intermission after a fantastic first period.

The second period is seemingly where things came un-done for the Flyers. Man advantages, and questionable calls aside, the Flyers and Capitals traded chances for the majority of the period, with neither able to find the back of the net. Great play from Carter Hart and Ilya Samsonov was overshadowed by gaffes from both sides, as Alex Ovechkin and several Flyers routinely would over-skate or miss several premier chances.

The dam would break eventually though, as T.J. Oshie would find a wide open Alex Ovechkin for the Capitals first goal of the night. Farabee would seemingly get mixed up regarding coverage, and Hart wasn’t able to properly go post-to-post to make the save against the Great 8.

The bigger issue for the Flyers would come within the final minute however, as a terrible icing resulted in a defensive zone faceoff. The Capitals, on a clear script play, moved the puck around to Dimitri Orlov who was able to find the back of the net, giving the Capitals the lead heading into the intermission.

The third period was the final nail in the coffin. After coming out relatively strong, Caps defenseman Zdeno Chara took Farabee out of the play on a potential high sticking play. The bigger issue was James van Riemsdyk coming over to defend the young forward, allowing the Capitals to go into the Flyers zone in a 4 on 3.

The backbreaker would come from the stick of Nick Jensen, who got the puck in wide open ice, ripping one past Carter Hart. This would end up being the last goal of the game, but even though the loss will get logged in Carter Hart’s column, it was not his fault.

The Flyers pressed hard late, pulling the goalie with over four minutes remaining, but Ilya Samsonov stood tall and prevented the Flyers from working back into this game late. Shayne Gostisbehere again made a couple great saves to prevent an empty netter, but no amount of booing from the fans could help the Flyers, as they eventually fell 3-1.

The fight from the Flyers was never in question tonight, but their inability to finish on their chances is cause for concern moving forward. Samsonov stood incredibly tall late in the 3rd, but Philadelphia was able to generate chances throughout, but never managed to put the distance between them and the Caps.

The Flyers will get a tune-up game against the hapless Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, and will certainly be looking to get things back in line.