Looking for their first preseason victory, the Philadelphia Flyers host the Washington Capitals. Were they victorious?
A season ago, the Philadelphia Flyers struggled against sizable, more physical lineups. Tonight, Chuck Fletcher’s additions evened the odds.
The Flyers showcased their potential starting lineup for the first time this preseason. Opposing Philadelphia, the Washington Capitals missed a few crucial stars. On paper, the Flyers should have the advantage when comparing lineups, but the game played out tighter than imagined.
Back at the Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia took to the ice to secure their first preseason victory, but were they successful?
Early on, Oskar Lindblom put the Washington Capitals on the powerplay. A tripping penalty put the Philadelphia Flyers starting penalty kill out on the ice to face their first test. Unfortunately, it was a costly one when Aliaksei Protas scored on a rebound. Down one early, the Flyers had to respond as quickly.
When you think about veteran leadership, you look to the captain. Claude Giroux answered with a powerplay goal, evening the score. His resiliency awakened Garnet Hathaway, who tallied three-body checks in one skating path. The business began to pick up. Travis Konecny was the first to answer Hathaway, but Keith Yandle and Rasmus Ristolainen didn’t stop throwing their weight.
Yandle had an impressive first period, quarterbacking the powerplay unit and getting just as physical with the Capitals forwards. His contribution, along with Ristolainen, changed the pace in favor of Philadelphia. There was one moment where Yandle’s age showed, outhustled by Nic Dowd on a shorthanded opportunity.
At the end of one, the score remained deadlocked, 1-1.
Unlike many games, the Philadelphia Flyers maintained their pace. In this game, they played three full periods.
For the first five minutes of the second period, the Flyers sustained constant pressure in the offensive zone. Unfortunately, Travis Konecny was penalized for cross-checking. Konecny has taken bad penalties in the preseason, including a costly one against the New York Islanders. This time, Philadelphia killed the penalty.
To provide an idea of how physical the Flyers were, they were outhitting the Washington Capitals 16-5 before the midway point of the second period.
During the period, Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson had brilliant scoring chances. Passes were behind, and there was hesitation in taking a shot through an open lane. Regardless, Philadelphia dictated the pace of the game. The second period finished without any scoring but a minor power outage at the Wells Fargo Center.
Throughout training camp, Oskar Lindblom and Cam Atkinson received raving reviews about their chemistry. Both are on the Philadelphia Flyers penalty kill, but they were on the same page on this scoring play. To give the Flyers a lead, Lindblom centered the puck at the top of the crease for Atkinson to score. Ilya Samsonov was out of position.
Lindblom is back to form, and the hockey world loves to see it.
These two teams remained chippy with one another during a close game. Ivan Provorov nearly fought Garnet Hathaway, who managed to agitate all of Philadelphia. Derick Brassard pulled Provorov off of Hathaway, protecting Provorov. A brilliant veteran move by Brassard. He challenged Hathaway instead.
Throughout the second half of the third period, Martin Jones showed composure. He was beaten early in the first but battled back. A lot rides on his resurgence with Kim Dillabaugh in his corner this upcoming season.
Finishing the scoring, Scott Laughton potted the puck with a backhanded breakaway goal. Those are automatic on the way to a 3-1 victory.
Next for the Philadelphia Flyers is their preseason rematch versus the Boston Bruins on October 4th, 2021. You can watch the telecast on the NHL Network starting at 7pm.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre