Washington Capitals Lose 2-1 In Philadelphia Flyers Shootout Victory
It was a game that was more intense than expected. A tip-in led to a Philadelphia Flyers shootout victory.
With the regular season winding down, the Philadelphia Flyers found themselves in a favorable position following the losses of the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night. Their Wednesday night opponent, however, was the league leading Washington Capitals who had just clinched the President’s Trophy. The trophy is given to the team with the most regular season points, which the Capitals have 113 points. This could have potentially been a blessing in disguise as statistically the Capitals no longer had anything to play for.
Clearly no one told that to the Washington Capitals because this game had the feel of a playoff contest from the drop of the opening face-off. It’s no surprise these two teams don’t like each other and it showed throughout each period of this chippy affair. Speaking of periods, this game would require all three and then some. After Alex Ovechkin scored his league leading 44th goal (18th on the power play, also league leading) the Philadelphia Flyers answered in the third period with a shot from the point from captain Claude Giroux that Brayden Schenn deflected top shelf to tie the game. Regulation would not be enough to settle the score as the two teams headed to overtime.
Although gaining even a single point out of this game was enough to satisfy the Flyers, with a game in hand on the chasing Red Wings, that extra point could make a world of difference. Things looked grim after Wayne Simmonds was called for tripping less than a minute into the extra period. Despite controlling the play and getting off a few decent shots, the Washington Capitals were unable to capitalize. The overtime period provided less excitement than the Philadelphia Flyers previous game and the teams headed to the shootout.
Philadelphia Flyers Gaining Momentum
Any Flyers fan, like myself, knew this scenario was certain doom. Not only are the Flyers historically bad at shootouts, but the Capitals also happen to fare particularly well in such situations. The Flyers elected to defer the first shot to the Capitals, which went to TJ Oshie, the hero from the Olympics. After a nice move, he went to the backhand, but Mason was all over it. Nick Cousins was first up for the Flyers and he made a nice move to get Holtby moving laterally and slipped it through his five hole to take the 1-0 lead.
Second for the Capitals was young star Evgeny Kuznetsov. He made a very nice move and initially beat Steve Mason, but the Flyers keeper was able to recover and make an incredible glove save. With a chance to win the game, coach Dave Hakstol chose to go with Sam Gagner who skated in and chose to go with a wrist shot rather than a move. that move turned out to be a good decision as he beat goalie Braden Holtby through the five-hole to seal the huge Philadelphia Flyers shootout victory.
After Wednesday’s Philadelphia Flyers shootout victory, the Flyers now have a stranglehold on the second Wild Card spot with a two point advantage over the Red Wings and a one point advantage over the Boston Bruins. Not to mention a game in hand on both teams.
At this point it’s simple, take care of business and the Flyers will enter the playoffs as one of the NHL’s hottest teams and no doubt a team that few want to run into in the first round. After tonight, chalk the Capitals up as one of those teams.