Wrap: Flyers Claim a Point from 2-1 SO Loss to Caps; Phantoms Update
After 65 minutes of entertaining 1-1 hockey, the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals went to a shootout at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night. The Caps scored twice (T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov), while the Flyers scored once (Claude Giroux) and Washington claimed the bonus point for the win.
The Flyers now have a seven-game point streak (5-0-2) and have gone to overtime four games in a row. It’s their first time for four consecutive games beyond regulation since March of 2011.
Carter Hart made 32 saves on 33 shots in regulation and two more in OT; a slew of which were very tough stops. This was the first time this season to date that the Capitals were held to fewer than two goals in a game, and the first time since the third game of the season that the Caps scored fewer than three times.
"I think you just prepare for the game and whatever comes, you have to be ready. They came out firing to start the game. We bounced back in the second and the third and generated a lot of chances and that was the message AV had for us [after] the first is we need to retaliate and come out hard in the second and that is what we did. I thought we came out hard in the final 40," Hart said.
"They’re the top team in the league right now. They’ve been rolling, and for us to be right there with them shows we can be in there with any of the top teams in the league."
Braden Holtby was also outstanding in net for Washington (27 saves on 28 shots in regulation, 3 more in OT, 2-for-3 in the shootout), but Hart's heroics were the big story. That said, after being outshot 16-5 in the first period, the Flyers outshot the Capitals 26-20 over the rest of the game.
"In the first period we were a step behind, a second behind. Give them credit, I mean they came out hard and they proved in that first period there’s a reason why they’re first in the league right now. Their execution and their speed was very challenging. In the second period we got better, made better decisions as far as giving them a little bit less space and time. We were able to make a couple plays with the puck and in the third we found a way to even it up," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said.
Claude Giroux (power play, 5th) knotted the game in the third period, after a Brendan Leipsic goal (2nd) stood as the game's only tally through two periods.
The Flyers went 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. An emphatic mid-second period kill was a momentum turner for the rest of the period.
"Penalty kills can do that, we did a good job against a very good PP unit. I think everybody knows how dangerous [the Caps] are," said Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen.
The Flyers’ penalty kill is 29-for-31 (93.5%) over the last 10 games.
The Flyers got off to a sluggish start in the first period. The Caps rapidly compiled five shots in less than two minutes. Washington compiled seven of the game's first eighth shots. Washington's fourth line outworked the Flyers line and Leipsic was alone on the doorstep to jam a John Carlson rebound past Hart for a 1-0 lead at 6:13. John Carlson and Nic Dowd got the assists.
Things got only slightly better for the Flyers as the period progressed. Andy Andreoff hustled up a wraparound attempt. Shayne Gostisbehere made a nice lateral move to create the Flyers' first power play. Beyond that, there wasn't much doing on the Philly side: they struggled to break out and struggled to sustain offensive zone possession.
The Caps took 1:03 of carryover PP time into the 2nd pd, leading 1-0. Shots were 16-5, attempts were 27 (16-5-6) to 14 (5-6-3) in Washington's favor. Pretty much the Carter Hart show in the opening 20 to keep his team in the game.Clutch saves one-on-one against Richard Panik and a glove save on Leipsic from the slot stood out.
Oskar Lindblom had a golden scoring chance in the slot early in the second period. Very shortly thereafter, the Flyers caught a break as a Vrana blast from the right circle.
Vigneault, looking for a spark, juggled every forward line except the Couturier line. Tyler Pitlick moved to a line with Giroux and JVR, Andreoff was with Hayes and Voracek. Farabee played with Raffl and Twarynski.
As the second period progressed, the Flyers started to generate much more traffic and pucks in close to Holtby. An outstanding Flyers third PK was followed very shortly thereafter by a Philly power play. After it expired, Konecny beat Holtby with a shot but the puck hit the post. Hart made a clutch save on Lars Eller in the waning seconds of the period. Second period shots were 12-6 Flyers (22-17 Caps through 40 minutes).
Vigneault juggled some lines again and shortened the bench by the third period. Raffl was with Giroux and Voracek. Joel Farabee was moved down and skated only one third period shift.
"Could’ve won it in overtime there on a couple of good looks but it’s the way the game is sometimes. We battled hard, we competed hard tonight. It wasn’t easy, we had a few guys that were giving us an A effort but their execution wasn’t what it could be but they were working hard and I shortened the bench I want to say half way through the game there. Sometimes you just got to do it that way, you got to grind it out, find a way and that’s what we did tonight," Vigneault said.
The Caps came out with an early forechecking push in the third period. The Flyers withstood it, thanks to two more clutch saves by Hart, and then pushed back, culminating in Giroux's game-tying power play goal off a great entry and pass by Voracek at 6:38. Ivan Provorov (25:06 TOI, four shots, two hits, one block, zero giveaways) got the secondary assist for the first pass to Voracek.
Late in regulation, the Flyers were hanging by a thread but Hart nursed the game to OT. Third period shots were 11-10 Caps.
The Flyers dominated possession for the lion's share of overtime. Couturier hit a post. Hart made three saves to four by Holtby.
"We were moving around, we had a couple chances, they were containing us. They had been on the ice for a while, so we were trying to get some chances," Giroux said of the two-plus minutes of consecutive possession.
In the shootout, Voracek had Holtby beaten but elevated a backhander over the net. Hart thought Oshie was going to make a move, but a quick wrister beat him instead through the five hole. Giroux made a little pull-up move and beat Holtby up high. Kuznetsov scored off the inside of the post. The game ended with Couturier being unable to convert a chance.
The Flyers will hold an optional noon practice on Thursday -- only a couple of players are expected to skate -- before the team flies to Ottawa in the afternoon. Participants in tomorrow's morning skate: the rookies (Myers, Farabee, Twarynski), the guys who didn't play on Wed (Elliott, Hägg, Stewart), and the most recent callup player (Andreoff, who only skated 5:40 vs. Caps). The rest of team will meet up at the airport.
Phantoms Drop Morning Game in Springfield, 2-1
A goal in the waning seconds of the second period proved to be the difference as the visiting Lehigh Valley Phantoms fell, 2-1, to the Springfield Thunderbirds, in a Wednesday game that started at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Rookie Owen Tippett gave the Florida Panthers' AHL affiliate an early lead on a fluky goal -- an attempted pass that deflected off the stick of Lehigh Valley defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon and re-directed past Alex Lyon. The Phantoms got the game knotted at 1:29 of the second period as veteran Greg Carey (5th) scored. Cal O'Reilly and Andy Welinski had assists.
With less than four seconds remaining in the middle stanza, the Phantoms had a defensive breakdown and Tommy Cross scored a backdoor goal (2nd) to put Springfield ahead to stay. That ended an odd period that saw the Phantoms generate each of the first 11 shots, and Springfield each of the next 12.
Lehigh Valley had chances to tie the game -- most notably a would-be Carey goal that was momentarily ruled a good goal on the ice but shown on replay no to have crossed the goal line -- but fell short.
Lyon stopped 33 of 35 shots in a losing cause. Chris Driedger denied 41 of 42.