Washington Capitals Defeat Philadelphia Flyers; Advance to Second Round
(Washington Capitals Defeat Philadelphia Flyers) – Wells Fargo Center, the site of game 6 of the first round playoff series between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals, saw the home team put up a valiant effort against a superior opponent. However, it just wasn’t meant to be.
After an improbable and basically unbelievable game 5 win in Washington that featured a mere 11 shots on goal by the Flyers and a Herculian performance from goaltender Michal Neuvirth, the Capitals looked to close out the series on their third attempt after jumping to a 3-0 series lead.
In a game that was much more competitive from start to finish, there was only one goal to be scored by either side. After an impressive penalty kill that included 5-3 time, the Flyers allowed an odd man rush that resulted in a slick one-timer feed from Marcus Johansson that Nicklas Backstrom buried top shelf. This happened shortly after exiting the penalty box for a high sticking penalty that turned out to be an inaccurate call.
This was the one chink in Neuvirth’s armor on the day, but it was enough to see the Caps through to the next round as the Flyers could not solve Brayden Holtby and the swarming defense of the Capitals. There were a number of opportunities for the Flyers, but Washington did a good job of keeping the attack to the outside and allowing Holtby
a clear lane of sight on most threatening plays.
With Neuvirth pulled late in the third, the Flyers got a few chances in front of Holtby, but were never able to get their sticks to the puck when the opportunities arose, which was a microcosm of the series. Although it went to six games, this series was never very close and this Capitals showed they are different from previous versions that have been regular season powerhouses, but resulted in premature playoff exits.
What’s Next for the Capitals?
Coach Barry Trotz preaches the right fundamentals and defensive responsibility that has this team poised to prove doubters wrong and make a serious run at the Stanley Cup. The next stop on the journey is a date with the other favorite in the Eastern Conference, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This marquee matchup is probably better served for the conference finals, but is sure to be a memorable one. In their only other playoff matchup in 2009, the world’s two best players, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, went to seven games with the Caps ultimately flopping in a lopsided game 7 defeat.
This time around, the Caps’ defense and depth are sure to make for a different series. Whichever team emerges will be considered the heavy favorite to represent the Eastern conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.
(Washington Capitals Defeat Philadelphia Flyers)