Last night was a goaltender duel between Carter Hart and Braden Holtby. On home ice, the Philadelphia Flyers had the opportunity to test their metal and cut their teeth against the leaders of the Metropolitan Divison, the Washington Capitals. Playing two periods out of the three fiercely haunted the Flyers in this game. With a chance to pull off the upset in another shootout, the Capitals proved to be just too much on this night. Philadelphia has no reason to hang their heads because they matched up well against a championship-caliber opponent, losing 2-1 in high-stakes hockey.
Just over six minutes into the first period of play, the Washington Capitals were the first on the board. The all too important first goal of the game had the Flyers trying to play catch-up for the next two periods. On the scoring play, Brendan Leipsic cleaned up on the crease, beating Carter Hart on the slightest of rebounds. On the assist was the leading scorer of the Capitals, John Carlson. Mistake free hockey had to be played and Philadelphia was flawed in the first period, being outshot 16-5.
Before the second period began, I had the pleasure to meet Samuel Morin and speak with him momentarily. First and foremost, he is a swell person and we at Philly Sports Network wish him a speedy recovery with his ACL injury. He’s in great spirit, saying it’s “just a part of his journey.”
The Philadelphia Flyers had a few opportunities on the powerplay in the second period, but the penalty kill did its job. Special teams kept the Flyers intact while the change of pace was noticeable, as the Washington Capitals only accounted for six shots in that period.
Heading into the third period, the Philadelphia Flyers had to be mindful of their puck possession and turnovers. Philippe Myers showed that he has matured and developed quickly to be a reliable defenseman on the Flyers roster, making his presence known on the forecheck. Late in the third period, Philadelphia would go on the powerplay. Jakub Voracek deked around Radko Gudas on his return back to the Wells Fargo Center and sought out Claude Giroux for the equalizer. Carter Hart ensured the Flyers would see overtime against the Washington Capitals with some spectacular saves.
Now it’s time for what the Philadelphia Flyers have grown accustomed to. Overtime hockey made its appearance at the Wells Fargo Center and each team had the opportunity to seal the game. In the overtime period, Sean Couturier had a shot that nearly went in on Braden Holtby. Immediately after, Alexander Ovechkin made a big run at Carter Hart, but was denied. In the end, it was Evgeny Kuznetsov who would be credited with the game-winner in the shootout against Hart.
Never has a term been so fitting for the penalty kill and powerplay of the Philadelphia Flyers. Those lines kept the Flyers in the game, coupled with the goaltending from Carter Hart. The penalty kill was a perfect three-for-three against a more-than-potent Washington Capitals attack. Claude Giroux tied the game on the powerplay after grinding down Braden Holtby all game. Philadelphia, if anything, showed that they are for real.
Point Streak Continues
This says a lot about the fortitude of a team when they are playing quality opponents close and not walking away empty-handed. If you are going to lose in the NHL, get a point in overtime or shootout that goes towards standings. This is about as tight as it gets in the NHL, and the Philadelphia Flyers are showing everyone that they are better than expected. Seven games in a row, the Flyers have walked away with points towards the NHL standings. The last time they didn’t was their loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 7-1, who now are without Sidney Crosby for six weeks due to core muscle surgery.
Investing In Vigneault
Alain Vigneault believes that he has a team that will make the playoffs this season. So far, it’s hard to dispute that. While it is early and post-Thanksgiving is usually a more telling time, he has the Philadelphia Flyers playing at a high rate. The TLC Line has been booming, Carter Hart has his groove back, and the Flyers were able to rely on veterans such as Jakub Voracek to make plays against the Washington Capitals. Watching this team against Stanley Cup contenders, Philadelphia is coming together.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers are away at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada against the Ottawa Senators. This game takes place on Friday, November 15th at 7:30 pm. Be sure to give a follow for more Flyers coverage at EricReesePSN on Twitter and follow Philly Sports Network at PhiladelphiaSN!
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports