PHILADELPHIA -- It's been said several times over the last few weeks. At this time of year, it's not necessarily about results when you're a team that's at the top of the Conference, the top of the Division and already in the postseason.
After the Edmonton win two weeks ago, we talked about how the Flyers played like complete shit despite earning the two points. Tonight, the Flyers put in a full 60 minute effort, proved they were better than the Washington Capitals, and by a thin, unfortunate margin of a few bounces, gave up a point in a shootout.
It's tough to swallow and it sucks, but let's not pretend that tonight was a bad night for our hockey team. Peter Laviolette put it perfectly after the game.
"The team played great," he said. "We would like to leave with another point. Everybody gets one hoo-rah in the end. That didn't happen for us tonight. Saying that, if I would evaluate the game and the way our guys played, that's about an honest effort we have had in about a month."
The goaltending wasn't fantastic tonight. Sergei Bobrovsky had a brutal game, and he can certainly be faulted for at least two of the three goals he allowed before being pulled at the start of the third period. But for the rest of the team outside of the crease, tonight might have been the best game they've played all season. Seriously.
They outworked the Capitals in all three zones. They played physical. They established the cycle game. Even as the Capitals stormed out to a three-goal lead, it felt more like a fluky lead than a deserved lead.
After tonight's game, despite the unfortunate loss in the shootout, I'm confident that the Flyers are a better team than the Washington Capitals. I mean, does anybody seriously believe that if this game goes five more minutes in overtime, the Flyers don't put one past Michal Neuvirth?
It's playoff time, and that's all that matters. No reason to hang your head tonight. After all, with a one point lead and two games in hand, it's still up to the Flyers whether or not they're the East's top seed when this whole regular season thing comes to an end.
After the jump, bullet points, post-game video, questions with answers and the comment of the night.
- Let's talk about Andreas Nodl and how awesome he was tonight. You think he wants to stay in the lineup after being a healthy scratch? He said after the game that in Dallas there was a little rust to knock off after sitting for a few games, but tonight he certainly proved that the rust was gone.
- He was one of the major pieces in the Flyers success tonight, creating Claude Giroux's late second period goal, playing a huge part in the Flyers' first goal, and scoring the game-tying goal in the third period from his knees. He even had a chance or two for the hat trick toward the end of the game.
- Andrej Meszaros was also a monster tonight. 29 minutes to lead everybody, five blocks, six hits, three shots.
- Braydon Coburn was awesome again, too. Those two in particular have stepped up yet again in the absence of Chris Pronger, and it really makes you excited for what will happen once the playoffs come and Pronger is back. If those Coburn and Mez can keep it up, the Flyers have four dominant defensemen that they can throw out there in the postseason.
- Claude Giroux got a bunch of stiches in the chin after taking a high-stick from Alex Semin.
- Mike Richards on Bob's rough night: "Shit happens." It's true.
Post-Game Video: Andrej Meszaros
Post-Game Video: Danny Briere
Post-Game Video: Brian Boucher
Post-Game Video: Andreas Nodl
Post-Game Video: Peter Laviolette
Questions with Answers
- Are the Flyers are still first in the East at the end of the night? Our first ever pre-game answer. Despite all the hype around tonight's BATTLE FOR THE EAST, the Caps can't take the Flyers' top spot tonight. At best, they can tie them... having played two extra games.
- Tonight could be called the first true playoff-style test for Bob. How's he hold up? Ouch.
- Without Ovechkin to beat up on like they usually do, how will the Flyers defense do against the Caps' attack? The Caps' didn't sustain much pressure in the offensive end.
- This so-called "new Caps style" with "defense" and "stuff" -- how's that work? They blocked 21 shots, so there's that.
Comment of the Night
Damn. You can see Boudreau sweating bacon.