The Capitals visited the city of Brotherly Love for the final time in the regular season. The Flyers could be the Capitals’ first round opponent in a few weeks. T.J. Oshie, who was questionable after a lower-body injury, was in the lineup and started on the third line with Jason Chimera and Jay Beagle. There was a lot of talk going into the game about a first round playoff match between the Flyers and Capitals which added to the drama of the game.
First Period: Hard Hitting
The Capitals and the Flyers do not like each other and that showed throughout the game. The Flyers came out strong, mostly due to the fact that they are still battling with the Detroit Red Wings for the last wild card spot in the East. The Capitals returned the heavy hits with some of their own. The teams remained scoreless after 20 minutes. The Flyers outshot the Capitals 13-10.
Second Period: Holy Holtby!
The teams started the second 4-on-4 because of matching roughing penalties to Alex Ovechkin and Nick Schultz. A few minutes into the period, Ovechkin rang the puck off the far post and almost scored. Goaltender Braden Holtby was on his game, absolutely robbing the Flyers from scoring the opening goal. Halfway through the period, the Capitals had three shots on goal in the second and Holtby was stealing the game for them. After two periods, the teams remained scoreless.
Third Period: Well, Ovi Scored.
The Capitals started the period with 1:36 of power play time and Alex Ovechkin scored his 44th of the season (assisted by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams). Tom Wilson and Sam Gagner received matching roughing minors 11:18 into the period so the teams returned to 4-on-4 hockey. That is until Marcus Johansson was called for hooking and the Capitals had to kill off a 4-on-3 power play. The penalty kill was successful for the first penalty but not the second one. Brayden Schenn scored his 25th of the season and the Flyers had tied the game late in the third. There was no penalty given to Schenn when he later dangerously hit Nicklas Backstrom in his numbers (back) from behind and Backstrom went head first into the boards.
Overtime/Shootout: Oh well…
The teams remained tied at the end of regulation and each gained a standings point. 32 seconds into the extra session, the Capitals had a 4-on-3 power play. Nicklas Backstrom hit the left post, nearly ending the game. About 2 minutes later, Sean Courtier crashes into Holtby and Caps were going to have their second OT power play. But they did not because Holtby was given a roughing penalty (served by Justin Williams). The officiating in this game was terrible to say the least. The teams headed to the shootout and the Flyers scored twice and Caps did not, so the Flyers collected the extra point.
Despite the shootout loss, fans remain confident that when it comes to the playoffs, the Caps will overtake the Flyers to win the series. However, there is a growing sense that it may take seven games for that win to occur.
Practice: Morning skate at Pepsi Center in Denver at 11:30am MT on Friday.
Game: 9pm EST on Friday at Pepsi Center against the Colorado Avalanche (who are also fighting for their playoff lives).