PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 22: Matt Read #24 of the Philadelphia Flyers hits Marcus Johansson #90 of the Washington Capitals during the third period at the Wells Fargo Center on March 22, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Capitals 2-1 in the shootout.(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Couple things about this 2-1 shootout win over the Washington Capitals:
- Wait, so we win shootouts now, don't we? Remember earlier in the year when we were opining about how the Flyers never win shootouts, wondering why Peter Laviolette never practices them?
They're bizarre things, those shootouts. They aren't necessarily an extension of five-on-five play, but there certainly seems to be a distinct trend between Ilya Bryzgalov not sucking at hockey anymore and the Flyers winning shootouts. They're 3-1 in the penalty shot contest in the last month, and that's not so bad at all.
- The obnoxious part is knowing that, with the way the team seemed to control the pace in overtime and certainly late in the third period, they probably would have won had this game continued for much longer. They probably could have done it without a shootout. Oh well. Two points is two points, I guess.
- But again, it's getting a little too comfortable that the Flyers keep forcing themselves to play the comeback role in games. We don't have to count up the numbers -- frankly, I don't want to -- to prove to you that they've been getting behind the 8-ball way too often lately. You watch the games, you know this just as well as we do.
It's a double-edged sword. You can give them credit where it's due and say that they never give up on a game, a quality you want out of a playoff team, or you can worry that once the playoffs hit and the competition gets better, it's going to be really difficult to keep this up. I fall somewhere on the middle. It'd be lovely to watch my favorite hockey team play with a lead every once in a while, as exciting as this whole comeback thing is.
- Of course, they had to come back thanks to Alex Ovechkin's early goal. That was a thing of beauty (a bit lucky, too), and it was sort of reminiscent of Sunday's Evgeni Malkin goal simply because I think no matter what the defense did in that situation, Ovechkin was probably putting that puck in the back of the net. (Sorry about the whole jinxing thing, by the way. I'll take that blame.)
- Beyond the goal, the Flyers stifled Ovechkin to a certain extent, but as Japers' Rink notes, he still got plenty of chances. (Also worth noting that according to Neil Greenberg, the Flyers were out-chanced 18 to 13 in the game.) Only one of them went in the net, but the idea is to not let him get those chances at all.
- Ilya Bryzgalov didn't look his best at times, but the puck stayed out of the net. Hmm. Of course, at other times, notably in the third period, he looked like Georges Vezina. It's fun looking at both perspectives: The Caps will tell you they simply missed their opportunities, the Flyers will tell you Bryzgalov was huge for them in net. Reality probably falls somewhere in the middle.
Questions with Answers
- Can the Flyers shut down Alex Ovechkin? Hey, shut up.
- Can the Flyers score some damned goals? Not really.
- The power play was AWFUL on Tuesday. Better tonight? Not many penalties in this one. They had one chance in the third period, but it's tough to gauge off of just one PP opportunity.
Comment of the Night
Giroux, you sexy bastard.