Following their victory against the Boston Bruins, the Philadelphia Flyers are on a path to improve their playoff seeding. With a win over the Washington Capitals, the Flyers jump from fourth seed in the Eastern Conference to second seed. Head coach, Alain Vigneault, decided to start Brian Elliott against the Capitals. Elliott was only one of a few roster changes that were made since the win against the Bruins. Vigneault’s decision proved to be a smart one.
Heading into this game, Brian Elliott was the proper decision at goaltender. He is undefeated against the Washington Capitals in 2019-2020. Though he has yet to lose against the Capitals, he still has his critics. Two other rookies made their playoff debuts against Washington. In place of Michael Raffl was Joel Farabee, and substituting for James van Riemsdyk was Connor Bunnaman.
Through the first half of the first period, the Philadelphia Flyers were outshooting the Washington Capitals, five to one. Only a few minutes later, Scott Laughton would keep his goal-streak alive. Former Flyer, Radko Gudas, turned the puck over to Kevin Hayes. Hayes proceeded to tally his first of three assists. At the end of one period, Philadelphia led by one.
Travis Sanheim increased the Philadelphia Flyers lead by two. His insurance goal happened during four-on-four hockey. That means another Kevin Hayes assist. Late in the second period, Brian Elliott denied a breakaway attempt by Jakub Vrana. Braden Holtby made an incredible save against Scott Laughton on a one-timer set up by Travis Konecny.
Joel Farabee nearly recorded a goal against the Washington Capitals early in the third period. Braden Holtby denied a one-timer set up by Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Leave it to Scott Laughton to remain hot, scoring another goal off another Kevin Hayes assist. The Capitals scored to stop Brian Elliott’s shutout bid, a deflection by Travis Boyd. Elliott remains undefeated against Washington in 2019-2020 by a final score of 3-1.
That is four goals in three games for Scott Laughton. One against the Pittsburgh Penguins, another against the Boston Bruins, and a pair against the Washington Capitals. The second line for the Philadelphia Flyers has been on fire. Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny, and Laughton have outplayed the first line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Jakub Voracek. Alain Vigneault has found a perfect combination to relieve his starting unit.
Tracking Brian Elliott against the Washington Capitals has been incredible. His performance against the top Eastern Conference teams proves that he is a valuable backup to Carter Hart. That is 3-0-0 in all games against the Washington Capitals. In that time, his save percentage is 92.9% with a goal against average of 1.66. Alexander Ovechkin still cannot solve Elliott in 2019-2020.
After this victory, the Philadelphia Flyers have clinched the second seed in the Eastern Conference. If the Flyers defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, they will improve from the worst seed in the round-robin to the first seed in the Eastern Conference. Officially, the worst seed Philadelphia can receive is second. The winner of the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals game will be the third seed. If the Capitals win that game, the Bruins go from the first seed in the Eastern Conference to the worst seed in the round-robin.
Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports