WASHINGTON--It's hard to win a game playing entirely in the defensive end.
Outshot 39-25, and taking six penalties to Washington's two, the Flyers really had no business being in this game. But Sergei Bobrovsky, playing on back-to-back nights for the second time this season, was again golden.
Bobrovsky fell a game short of tying Pelle Lindbergh's team record for longest rookie win streak, but with how well he's playing right now it's hard to imagine that the Flyers won't be stringing consecutive wins together with some frequency this year.
On the offensive end, the Flyers were rarely able to generate chances, not peppering first-time NHL starter Braden Holtby with constant pressure as one might have hoped. Mike Richards said after the game that he thought it was more important to get traffic in front of a newbie goalie than shots, but the Flyers didn't really do either for most of the game.
Despite getting outshot 14-6, the first frame wasn't an entirely awful period for the Flyers. Bobrovsky looked far more solid than Holtby, who gave up a fairly weak goal to Nik Zherdev on a 2-1 to get the Flyers on the board first, a lead that was fairly quickly negated by a high Eric Fehr wrister which Bobrovsky reacted to late.
Ville Leino tipped in an Andrej Meszaros shot to give the Flyers the lead again early in the second, but again the Caps struck soon after, with Alexander Semin slamming home a pinballing puck on the power play.
The third saw some good chances, better goaltending, and a late double minor-turned-5-on-3 that the Flyers had to contend with to scrape out a consolation point. But the fifth minute of penalty killing was too much to deal with, and Mike Green ended it in overtime.
A few bullets:
- In case you didn't know, Sergei Bobrovsky is good. Really, really good.
- I don't know who picked the three stars for tonight's game, but they deserve to be smacked upside the head. Green had an absolutely awful game outside of the last shot, and got the first star. Holtby looked shaky and mediocre for much of the first half of the game, had a lower save percentage than Bobrovksy, and got the second star. Braydon Coburn made an absurd pump fake on a breakout attempt, which was enough for the third star, apparently. Ridiculous stuff. I would have gone Semin-Bobrovsky-Fehr, personally.
- Claude Giroux was fairly invisible for most of this one, something of a first for this season.
- Five of the Caps' ten wins have come after regulation ended. As if the Caps weren't annoying enough as is, they give out charity points like nobody else.
- There were a surprising number of empty seats at the Verizon Center, which has been a fairly consistently packed venue since 2008. Probably had something to do with the concurrent NFL slate, or perhaps growing fears of runaway escalators.
- I've been credentialed media twice now at Flyers-Caps games, both of which the Flyers lost. The first time, the Flyers lost late, and the players were absolutely fuming afterward. Tonight, they seemed relatively content with life. They're happy with their goaltending, happy with their system, and happy with their ability to contend in any game against any opponent.
This is a confident team right now. And it should be.
After the jump, questions answered, and a comment of the night.
- Can the Flyers defense successfully shut down Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom? Relatively. Semin scored a powerplay goal, but Ovechkin was fairly well corralled.
- Despite the win, the Flyers looked like utter crap last night. They left that on Long Island where it belongs, right? They got outplayed, for sure, but they played better than they did last night.
- Can Mike Richards keep his six-game point streak going? No, but Andreas Nodl is working on a nice one of his own now.
Eric Wellwood will sit in favor of Danny Briere, who returns from his suspension. What impact will Briere's addition have to the offense? Little. But a lot of big offensive names were quiet tonight.
- Are the Flyers still in first place in the East at the end of the game? Yes*.
Comment of the Night:
I legit just said to myself “who the fuck is Walker?”--Travis "Samsies!" Hughes
The Flyers don't play again 'til Thursday. On the one hand, it's a nice break, but on the other this scheduling sucks.