“Just What I Needed” by The Cars isn’t the official Philadelphia Flyers victory song, but the tune just fits. This is specifically just what the Flyers needed in a home win, knocking off the leaders of the Metropolitan Division. Philadelphia always seems to play the Washington Capitals closely. Earlier this season, their first meeting against the Capitals went to a shootout where Washington was victorious. Last night, the Flyers got two huge points in regulation, not leaving any left to share.
In front of a packed house on “Pride Night” at the Wells Fargo Center, the Philadelphia Flyers did exactly what they needed to do. Travis Konecny helped the cause, scoring the important first goal just under five minutes into the first period. The Washington Capitals answered with two unanswered goals, one from Nicklas Backstrom and the other from Jakub Vrana. It looked like the Flyers would be down a goal going into the second period, but Robert Hagg notched a goal to tie the game. Into the first intermission, this game was tied, 2-2, with the momentum back with Philadelphia.
Both teams had enough scoring chances to enter the second period with more than two goals, but alas, here we are. There was a little exchange between Travis Konecny and Alexander Ovechkin at the beginning of the second period which was mocked by Radko Gudas and Robert Hagg. The second period wasn’t a prime example of disciplined hockey for the Philadelphia Flyers as they were penalized three times. The penalty kill unit was stellar all night for the Flyers and Kevin Hayes was the shining star. His unassisted, shorthanded, breakaway goal put Philadelphia ahead in the final minute of the second period, 3-2.
The final period of play was a Carter Hart showcase. The Washington Capitals live or die by lateral passing, setting up one-timer opportunities. Good defensive plays by Michael Raffl, Joel Farabee, and Sean Couturier helped break up good scoring chances. Philippe Myers received a penalty on a questionable tripping call, but the penalty kill once again did their job. At the end of regulation, the Philadelphia Flyers left the Wells Fargo Center victorious, 3-2.
Hayes and the PK
He just has a nose for the goal when on the penalty kill. Last night was his second shorthanded goal of the season. All last year, the Philadelphia Flyers had three shorthanded goals under Dave Hakstol. In the 44th game this season, Alain Vigneault’s Flyers have matched that total. Against the leaders of the Metropolitan Division, Kevin Hayes had another clutch performance on the penalty kill.
Home Ice Advantage
Home is where the heart is for the Philadelphia Flyers. They maintain their best record against Metropolitan Division opponents while the Washington Capitals continue to struggle against their own division. Last night’s win has the Flyers currently tied for fourth in the Metropolitan Division with the Carolina Hurricanes. At some point, this success must translate on the road. For now, we’ll take the dominance at the Wells Fargo Center.
Mark Friedman Watch
Last night against the Caps was Friedman’s season debut, and second career NHL game. The defenseman was called up to the third pairing from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. For what it’s worth, he held his own while he was on the ice against a premier NHL team. In about twelve minutes of playing time, he did record a hit and managed a +/- of 0. Nothing jumps off the paper reading that stat line, but it shows he wasn’t taken advantage of by the Capitals.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers are home at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to host the Tampa Bay Lightning. This game takes place on Saturday, January 11th at 7 pm. Be sure to give a follow for more Flyers coverage at EricReesePSN and PhiladelphiaSN on Twitter!
Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports