The Philadelphia Flyers visited the first-place Washington Capitals on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena in the fifth of eight scheduled meetings this season. The Flyers decided that tonight’s game was the perfect time to get their weekly blowout loss in and were subsequently steamrolled 6-1 by the Capitals.
The game started out with a small barrage of Washington shots and good pressure from the Capitals, but Brian Elliott was good very early on to keep the game scoreless. The Flyers, however, could not hold off the Capitals for long.
Washington would break through on the scoreboard with 12:53 to play in the opening frame. Daniel Sprong and Conor Sheary traded the puck with each other and Sheary fired a shot from a severe angle that snuck behind Elliott and in to open the scoring and give Washington a 1-0 lead.
The Flyers would rally back quickly and respond with 11:15 to play in the period after a turnover by Capitals netminder Ilya Samsonov. Samsonov played the puck from behind his net and sent it out in front, but James van Riemsdyk intercepted the puck. van Riemsdyk wristed a shot on net and it found its way by Samsonov and into the cage thanks to a deflection from Sean Couturier and the Flyers evened the game at 1-1.
Washington would fire back just as quickly shortly after on their first power play of the evening. Shayne Gostisbehere was sent to the penalty box for elbowing against Alex Ovechkin, even though the replay would suggest Ovechkin may have sold the call. The Capitals would burst into the zone and Sheary again was involved as he shoveled the puck over to Tom Wilson with pressure, and Wilson blasted home a shot that got a piece of Elliott but not enough. Wilson’s 11th tally of the year gave the Capitals a 2-1 advantage.
The Capitals would net another power play marker with 3:35 with Nicolas Aubé-Kubel sitting in the box on an interference minor for Philadelphia. Washington set up their power play in the Flyers’ zone, and Ovechkin found Nicklas Backstrom across the ice from the left faceoff circle. Backstrom corralled the puck with his skate and got it to his stick to fire home Washington’s third goal of the night over the sliding Elliott to give Washington a two-goal lead.
The Capitals were still not done taking the Flyers to the woodshed in the first period as Carl Hagelin decided to get in on the action as well. John Carlson fed the puck to Hagelin in the slot after a Washington cycle in the Flyers’ end, and Hagelin beat Elliott through the five-hole to extend the Capitals’ lead to 4-1 with 1:39 to play in the frame.
Mercifully for Philadelphia, the period would come to a close shortly after. The Capitals outshot the Flyers 19-9 in the period and held a commanding three-goal lead as the teams headed off the ice for the first intermission.
The Flyers would play a much tighter second period and did not allow as many shots and scoring chances as they did in the first. They even drew their first penalty of the game and got some power play time thanks to a Nic Dowd cross-check on Jake Voracek, but could not cash in on it.
Washington, despite not dominating the period, continued to dominate the scoresheet. Anthony Mantha, who was acquired yesterday at the Trade Deadline from Detroit for a hefty price, joined in on the Capitals’ fun and potted his first goal in red and blue with 10:38 to go in the middle stanza. T.J. Oshie dropped the puck back to Mantha after a zone entry, and Mantha glided through the slot and wired the puck upstairs on Elliott to extend Washington’s lead to 5-1.
Philadelphia would escape the period with only another goal allowed and were only outshot 7-6. They still trailed big on a night that they could not afford to be as the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins both won and further distanced themselves from the Flyers in the standings tonight.
The third period began with a Robert Hagg slashing penalty against Garnet Hathaway just 3:27 in, and Washington would score on the ensuing power play. Wash, rinse, repeat. Ovechkin received a great cross-ice feed from Wilson and lasered a wrist shot past Elliott’s blocker to make it a 6-1 game in favor of the Capitals on his 22nd goal of the year.
The Flyers would earn another power play about three minutes later after Claude Giroux was tripped up by Hathaway, but they could not capitalize.
After another demoralizing effort and complete lack of competition, the final horn sounded at Capital One Arena and the Philadelphia Flyers left our nation’s capital with a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of the Washington Capitals.
3 STARS OF THE GAME – 1) Conor Sheary – WSH, 2) Anthony Mantha – WSH, 3) Ilya Samsonov – WSH
- Sean Couturier – Couturier scored his 13th goal of the season which stood as Philadelphia’s lone tally in this one. Couturier now has 31 points in 31 games and is now riding a three-game point streak.
- Everything Else – I really don’t know where to start. The power play can’t score, the penalty kill can’t defend, the goalies can’t stop a beach ball. Alain Vigneault said earlier today that he believes that they have a playoff team, but I’d like to know in what universe this team looks even remotely close to being postseason bound. This was the SEVENTH time this season that Philadelphia has lost by five or more goals. No other team in the league gets blown out this badly and this routinely. It is absolutely frustrating to watch on a nightly basis how badly they underperform when you consider the amount of talent they have on the roster and what the expectations were for this group coming into the season. It’s just devastating.
The Flyers will visit the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday night in western Pennsylvania to finish up their two-game road trip as they trudge on in their quest to somehow make the playoffs. Hopefully they can put forth an effort that, well, isn’t the one they put up tonight.