The Flyers did their part to make the new look Capitals appear as Stanley Cup contenders in a 6-3 loss that had Wade Allison’s first goal as a lone bright spot. The Caps looked to be the hungrier, faster and more physical team for most of the game. While the Caps’ are playing to gear up for the playoffs, the Flyers do not have much beyond pride to play for.
CF:8 CA:16: CF%:33.33%
From the opening faceoff it appeared that it would not be the Flyers day as the Caps applied wilting pressure to them. The Caps chances were not always dangerous but they were completely disruptive to the Flyers offense. The pattern would repeat for most of the period. The Caps would control the puck in the offensive zone for an extended period, the Flyers would win the puck long enough to have a line change, and maybe an offensive chance. The chance would go wide or be blocked, and the Caps would storm down ice and repeat the sequence. The Flyers were lucky to be tied at the periods end.
CF:12 CA:25 CF%:68.42%
The second period was the first’s bigger and meaner sibling. It looked like the Caps had decided it was time to put the Flyers away and retook the lead less than a minute into the period. The Caps just continued to grind the Flyers down over the course of the period and ended it with a 4-2 lead.
On an interesting note, the Flyers counter attack provided a breakaway goal for the Flyers and JVR. The genesis of the goal was a turnover high in the defensive zone, an aspect of the team’s game has been missing for month. Perhaps there is a lesson for the team in that.
CF:4 CA:14 CF%:22.22%
The final period was a bit more subdued with 5 V. 5 play interrupted by several penalty calls. The single Flyers highlight was Wade Allison’s first goal set up by a great Kevin Hayes feed on the powerplay. That was the sole highlight in a sleepy period for the Flyers. The Caps still dominated the possession numbers and smothered the life out of the team.
WAS RW Anthony Mantha CF:16 CA:3 CF%:84.21%
Washington seems to agree with Anthony Mantha, who led all players in possession metrics and scored an empty net goal for good measure. Mantha generated an 8-1 CF advantage against Claude Giroux, the Flyers’ best possession forward this game.
Mantha had been something of an enigma while with the Red Wings, even considered a disappointment in some circles. Perhaps Mantha is not yet a franchise player, but he is certainly proving he is productive when he has some help around him.
PHI LW Oskar Lindblom CF:1 CA:18 CF% 5.26%
Lindblom put up a stunningly low CF% number as he was feasted on by the Eller and Backstrom lines. It could be that Lindblom missed Patrick who is normally his center and missed the game. It could be a day where Lindblom did not have it. At this juncture of the season, and given Lindblom’s last 18 months, it is probably best to look past it than use it as a grounds for critique.
CF:24 CA:56 CF%:26.67%
On this day the Caps looked like a team on a mission and the Flyers looked like a team with nothing to play for. The possession metrics paint nearly an identical picture. It is uncertain what can be cleaned from this performance and the data it rendered. The Captials are playing better at the moment, much better. The Flyers gave the effort of a team that has nothing more it can accomplish.
Is this a true indication of the difference in teams? On this afternoon it was, but it does raise the question of how much each teams current situation impacted their play.