Tonight, the theory that the Philadelphia Flyers save their best games for top competition took a serious hit.
Facing the Metropolitan Division's best team accounting for both record and underlying statistics, the Flyers were thoroughly outplayed and fell by a score of 5-2. Philadelphia was able to generate only 20 shots, while Washington peppered goalie Steve Mason with 32 of their own.
The game started out promising. An effective forecheck from the fourth line of Chris VandeVelde, Scott Laughton and Ryan White forced a turnover and resulted in a Laughton tally from the right faceoff circle. Even after T.J. Oshie responded with a goal via a beautiful no-look pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov, the game felt like a traditional back-and-forth divisional contest, complete with post-whistle shenanigans and lots of power plays for both teams.
The Flyers were able to capitalize on one such opportunity early in the second, as Claude Giroux beat Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby with a wrist shot off the far post to give Philadelphia back the lead. But that would be the high water mark of the night for the Flyers. Washington responded with three unanswered goals in the period, with the game winner from Justin Williams bookended by two Jason Chimera power play tallies.
After allowing Washington to slow the pace of the game to a crawl in the first half of the third period, the Flyers were finally able to generate some real pressure courtesy of the Sean Couturier line. But even that brief burst of hope turned to misery for the Wells Fargo Center faithful, as Nicklas Backstrom quickly capitalized on an Evgeny Medvedev turnover in the defensive zone to end any real chance of a Flyers comeback.
Tonight's loss may help the fans to accept the Flyers' recent stretch for what it is - poor play from a severely flawed team. Philadelphia certainly has a great deal of room for improvement, but the past three weeks are most likely a better measure of the team's true talent than their early season successes against teams like the Blackhawks, Rangers and Bruins.
Comment of the Night
Few minutes ago I muted my feed and I’m having richard wagners rings of nibbellugen blasting out. Suddenly flyers play doesn’t seems so dark and gloomy.