Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 67: WSH 5, PHI 3 - 2 Men, 5 Goals, 0 Points
The title's all you need, thanks for reading.
The Philadelphia Flyers get blowno-oh they actually made it interesting? Well, they still lost, 5-3 to the Washington Capitals, a damning defeat for their playoff hopes.
Let's be clear here - this was a nearly impossible game for the Flyers to win. First off, they were 4-0-1 since trading Wayne Simmonds entering Wednesday, meaning they were due for a loss. Second, both Nolan Patrick and Jake Voracek sat out with injuries, meaning the Flyers were forced to recall Justin Bailey from the Phantoms and use 7 defenseman. Add in the fact they were facing the Metro leading Washington Capitals, and this looked like a loss from the start.
And boy did it ever become one. Right off the hop, the Capitals were clearly the better team. Washington outshot the Flyers 15-7 in the opening stanza, and they were rewarded for their efforts with 2 goals. Tom Wilson capitalized on an incredible pass from a falling Ovechkin to start the scoring, and then Brett Connolly's shot fluttered off Elliott's glove and the crossb-nope, review shows it hit the camera and went in. Add in a shotless Philadelphia power play, and it was hard to imagine things going worse for the Flyers in the 2nd and 3rd than they did in the first.
Imagine it. It'd probably look something like a wide-open snipe by Alex Ovechkin from the Alex Ovechkin spot on the power play to extend the lead. That would be followed up with a routine shot from Andre Burakovsky finding the back of the net, leading to a goalie pull. And then said new goalie would allow his first shot, a wide-open look for Nicklas Backstrom, to find the back of the net as well. Dreams become reality fast, but unfortunately nightmares become reality faster. 5-0 Capitals.
That lead didn't quite make it to 2nd intermission, though. With under 15 seconds left, Coots and G executed a crafty passing play through the middle of the ice. Giroux carried the puck over the line and dropped it off to a perfect shot by... PHIL MYERS! His 1st NHL goal cut into the Caps lead and gave some cause for celebration on what was otherwise was looking like a disappointing night.
But to the Flyers credit, they did everything they could to make sure the Caps felt the heat. 10 seconds into the 3rd, Oskar Lindblom found G wide open for a backdoor backhander to light the lamp. After some more Flyers pressure, Scotty Laughts tipped home an AMac point shot to make it a 5-3 game with more than half a period to go. Despite their best efforts, Braden Holtby shut things down the rest of the way.
This game was a microcosm of the Flyers season. The Flyers got off to an awful start, but when their goaltending got better, they made a valiant effort to make things interesting, only to come up short in the end. While the playoffs are still a possibility, each loss makes them more and more distant. In order to reach 97 points (which was the lowest point total to make the playoffs this year), the Flyers would need to go 12-2-1 down the stretch. Not impossible, but pretty darn difficult, especially considering their difficult schedule. But regardless of the circumstances, nights like tonight cannot happen anymore if the Flyers want any chance of extending their season into mid-April.
Claude Giroux is a career point-a-game player against the Caps, with 39 points in 39 games.
Speaking of Giroux, he recorded his 99th career game with at least one goal and one assist. Only Eric Lindros and John LeClair have had 100 such contests for the Flyers.
Phil Myers' goal makes it two straight years a Flyer has scored their first NHL goal against the Capitals. Oskar Lindblom (March 18th, 2018) was the other.
Wednesday was Brian Elliott's first clunker since returning from injury. Two of the four goals (Connolly and Burakovsky's) were routine save opportunities, and it's not like he made many wonderful saves either. On the bright side, Cam Talbot was a bit frenetic, but did stop 15 of 16 shots.
Both Patrick and Voracek practiced with the team Friday and are expected to play on Saturday night. That's a huge sigh of relief, as a long-term abscence for both (maybe even one) could have been the nail in the Flyers playoff coffin.
Underrated play - with the Caps on the PP in the 3rd trying to stop the Flyers momentum, Alex Ovechkin got a backhander past Talbot, only to have it swiped off the goalline by Ivan Provorov's stick. It may not have meant much in the final outcome, but it's another example of Provy's improved play since the All Star break.
1st - A. Ovechkin (WSH) - 1 G, 1 A
2nd - N. Backstrom (WSH) - 1 G, 1 A
3rd - C. Giroux (PHI) - 1 G, 1 A
WSH - 3/8 vs. NJ (25-33-9)
PHI - 3/9 @ NYI (38-21-7)