PHILADELPHIA -- Okay, so maybe that headline is a little facetious, but Andrej Meszaros was pretty damn awesome tonight, and I was thinking about leading with that before his game-winning OT goal. Then again, I just love really big open-ice checks, and Meszaros' hit on Boyd Gordon in the third period was a thing of beauty.
For real, though. Meszaros and the entire defense were genuinely excellent tonight, save for maybe three minutes in the third period. Braydon Coburn did a particularly fantastic job shutting down Alex Ovechkin, who wound up scoring a game-tying goal on a weird play in the third. Even despite that, A.O. was embarrassed for most of the night, shut out by the physical play of No. 5 in orange.
The defense also helped Sergei Bobrovsky, who may have even been back to October form tonight. He made big saves when he had to, medium-sized saves when he had to and easy saves when he had to. You know, like a goalie is supposed to. Seymon Varlamov was good in goal for the Capitals, but Bob outdueled his old Russian pal.
Bob likely wasn't one of Flyers who benefitted from a stay in a hotel earlier this afternoon. After the morning skate here at the Wells Fargo Center, the team hopped on a bus to a Center City hotel where they spent they all took naps and gathered for a pre-game meal. Peter Laviolette said it's a good way to avoid the let down and the complacency that usually comes in the first game following a long road trip.
Bob, though, doesn't have a honey at home (at least not in America, yet, his girlfriend is still in Mother Russia), and Laviolette talked in his post-game press conference about avoiding the "honey-do" lists that pile up after long road trips. By staying at the hotel for the day, the Flyers are able to avoid the wives and stay in that road mentality while they settle back into life in the Delaware Valley.
The team did it a few times last year before critical games and it's seemed to work every time. Tonight, in their first game since the Rendell Administration, the superstition held true. A few bullet points after the jump.
- First game of the year where the Flyers didn't give the other team a power play.
- I got a glimpse of that Shelley clan tonight before Lavi's presser. They all look the same. Not like Jody, but they all looked like a bunch of No. 45-wearing twins. Creepy.
- Speaking of Shelley, you knew he was going to drop them with D.J. King tonight and the two didn't disappoint. King was in his first game since December 6 and Shelley had his pack of Shelley's in town. They dropped 'em early in the first. We'll call it a draw.
- The fourth line is essentially down to just a few shifts a game. Darroll Powe led that unit with just 5:43 in ice time.
- Jeff Carter's goal in the first period was pretty un-Carterlike, wasn't it? He picked it up in the neutral zone, carried it down the wing, and instead of shooting, he evaded the defender who was cutting across the middle, swung around the back of the net and wrapped it around the post.
- It could've been that goal where Michal Neuvirth hurt himself. He left the game after the first period with what's suspected to be a groin injury, and he looked slow getting across the crease on Carter's goal. Varlamov came in to relieve Neuvirth after the intermission, but without an announcement from Lou Nolan, the CSN Philly crew didn't notice the change for a good five-10 minutes of hockey.
Questions with Answers
- The Caps have D.J. King in the lineup tonight for the first time in a long time. He's a goon. Go figure. He fights tonight, right? Yep, as mentioned above. Who's this idiot asking questions we've already discussed?
- Washington's had scoring trouble lately, notably with Ovechkin and Backstrom. Can the Flyers keep them down?With the exception of a 40 second stretch in the 3rdd period, yep.
- Michal Neuvirth vs. Sergei Bobrovsky. Who wins the duel?Bobrovsky. Better than Neuvirth and Varlamov.
- Briere-Leino-Hartnell. Continued awesomeness?Kinda quiet tonight, actually.
Comment of the Night
If she's not into watching the game with you, she's not the right gal.