WASHINGTON -- The Capitals are a really bad hockey team. The Flyers might be worse. They came into the Nation's Capital tonight and played a solid ... ehhhh, maybe 25 minutes of hockey ... and then walked away from a game that should have been chalked up in the win column.
It was a game they had in their grasp after a phenomenal second period, but quickly let slip away late in the frame and early in the third. They let it slip away in the form of bad turnovers and stupid brain farts. It should have been win number three on the season, but instead it's loss number six, and that number doesn't seem like it's going to stay there for long.
Peter Laviolette's reaction after the game basically says it all. And he barely even said anything. You can almost feel his blood vessels popping.
A few more notes:
* Again, it was an awful start to the game. Washington, who played last night in Toronto, dominated the first 10-15 minutes of the first period and had outchanced and outshot the Flyers considerable in that time. Without Ilya Bryzgalov's stellar play (...becoming a theme...) the Flyers would have been down big early.
* But, they turned it on. Late in the first and throughout the second, the Flyers were the better team, and Bruno Gervais' goal gave them something to show for it midway through the period. But it took three minutes late in the period to breakdown. Nicklas Backstrom scored on a breakaway after Sean Couturier coughed the puck up to John Carlson, who fed the Swede with a great stretch pass. No fault to Bryz there.
* The Flyers had to kill a 5-on-3 to start the third period, and shockingly, as bad as their PK has been all year, they were all over the Caps on the lengthy kill. It should have been a turning point and a chance to put the bad finish to the second behind them, but alas, the Caps capitalized (lol puns).
* Turnovers. Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Whether it's Coots' at the blueline on Backstrom's goal or Luke Schenn's awful giveaway in the third period, they were ultimately the difference tonight.
* Wayne Simmonds was knocked out of the game in the first. John Erskine will likely be suspended for the hit, which you can see here. Paul Holmgren said that Simmonds was checked out by the doctor and that he has a head injury, although he wouldn't use the word concussion to describe it.
* Off the ensuing face off following the Erskine hit, Zac Rinaldo went to town on Matt Hendricks. Both guys got a little too fired up though and dropped the gloves before the puck was dropped. That'll get ya kicked out of the game. Was a good fight by Zac though immediately after the Flyers were robbed of a PK (maybe a five-minute one) on the Erskine hit.
Ugh, this sucked. Back at it tomorrow, I guess.
Five questions with answers
1. Does adding Briere to the top line help jumpstart the offense?
Top line was kind of mess considering one of them took a damned elbow to the nose in the first period. Tough to say with any certainty, but Claude Giroux was invisible again, so it's safe to say Briere didn't rub off that way.
2. Tye McGinn's back. How's that go?
Tye was good again. Keep him in the lineup.
3. The Caps are awful at special teams. Can the Flyers use the opportunity to kickstart their own PP and PK units?
Teams combined to go 0-for-eight on the power play. They all looked incompetant.
4. Braden Holtby has a) looked bad and b) will start tonight for the first time since Game No. 2. Can the Flyers take advantage?
No advantage whatsoever.
5. How many penalty minutes tonight, total?
46. Flyers add to their league-leading total with 25 of those.
Comment of the night
Great. Liquor time.