Game 3 Wrap: Great Start Gives Way to Ugly Night in 6-1 Blowout Loss
GAME 3 WRAPUP: FLYERS ROUTED ON SPECIAL TEAMS, LOSE 6-1
The Philadelphia Flyers find themselves in a cavernous three games to zero hole in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Washington Capitals after a 6-1 loss in Game Three on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers have been outscored 10-2 in the series, 8-0 on special teams.
The script was all too familiar to the series. Philadelphia played a strong first period and decently overall for two periods but special teams woes -- 4-for-9 on the penalty kill, 0-for-5 on the power play and 0-for-13 in the series -- turned the game around.
“It’s a little bit of both [traffic and puck movement]. They have some big bodies that create double layers of screens to make it hard to find a puck from the point, but they also do a good job of finding the seams there and they got some pretty good shots out there. At the end of the day though we have to find a way to get some kills," said Flyers goalie Steve Mason.
What can the Flyers do -- in a hurry -- to stop hemorrhaging power play goals to the Caps?
“To tell you the truth it’s tough to say right now. We try to play them tight, [Nick] Schultz and Gudie block a ton of shots and sacrifice their bodies. It just seems the pucks go back to them and we have a hard time clearing them. When it gets stuck out there for 30, 40 seconds, it gets tougher and tougher," said Flyers defenseman Mark Streit.
"After 20 you wish to get a change but tonight we couldn’t get it done and if you’re short so many times against a team like Washington it’s tough, they have a good PP. You do everything to kill them but first and foremost you have to stay out of the box and just be way smarter. But you’re right, we block shots, we do everything but just can’t get the puck out and eventually tonight you give up the goals.”
Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the five PPG against ties a franchise record done twice before in two other Game 3 situations – the 1980 Stanley Cup Final at NYI and the 1976 Semifinal at TOR.
For the second straight game, the Flyers got a mediocre game from Mason. Mason stopped just 21 of 27 shots. A stoppable Ovechkin goal and a rebound of a crazy carom off the side-boards stanchion led to Washington's second and third goals of the game before everything got out of hand as the third period progressed.
Once again, Braden Holtby was excellent for the Capitals. Holtby stopped 30 of 31 shots, while Mason stopped 21 of 27 with a fluky rebound goal and a stoppable Ovechkin goal putting Washington ahead (2-1) to stay. Philly actually scored in the opening minute of the game, but that was a distant memory by the end of the night.
A night that started with a beautiful tribute to Ed Snider turned very, very ugly. Souvenir light-up wristbands that were given away to fans before the game were thrown repeatedly from the stands at the officials. The Flyers spent most of latter part of the game killing penalties, and the Caps continued to score goals.
“I think with the first two games we were in those games and we just couldn’t get that one goal to kind of be where we wanted to be and with this game four, it’s going to be pretty big for us. Win this one and go back to Washington," said Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who is pointless through three games.
"We just have to go game by game like we’ve been doing for the last three months of the year. We were what eight points off the playoffs and we really concentrated on one game at a time and we have to go back to that. We can’t be looking that we’re down three nothing. We just have to go one goal at a time and we’re a streaky team so you know what, get one game and you never know what could happen.”
The Caps got a quick shot off a Claude Giroux turnover. Holtby turned aside a Radko Gudas shot at the other end.
At the 57-second mark, Michael Raffl got the Flyers on the board first. His diagonal pass went out to Brandon Manning at the left point. Holtby made the save but Raffl moved in front to quickly pot the rebound for his first career NHL playoff goal. Sam Gagner got the secondary assist.
Shots were 4-2 Flyers as a deflected Nick Schultz point shot went out of play at 2:34. After a good forechecking shift and pair of shots for the Pierre-Edouard Bellemare line, Washington iced the puck at 3:19. Raffl squeezed past John Carlson up the left boards and fired a shot on Holtby at 4:05.
With Shayne Gostisbehere caught on a bad pinch, Washington got a 2-on-1 rush that they could not score on as Mason denied Justin Williams but, moments later, got a power play on a Wayne Simmonds holding penalty at 4:28. Washington then scored their fourth power play goal of the series. A Carlson point shot deflected off Marcus Johansson and into the net for Johansson's first goal of the series. Carlson and Nicklas Bäckström got the assists at 4:43.
After Mark Streit lost his stick in the neutral zone, Raffl got an interference penalty at 11:17. Schultz blocked three separate Ovechkin shot attempts. T.J. Oshie whiffed on an open one-timer from the slot. After the second Caps unit pressured heavily, Gudas won a battle in the corner when play resumed at five-on-five.
The Flyers got their first power play at 13:43 on a Jason Chimera roughing penalty. The Flyers protested a faceoff that came out of the zone after a battle along the boards. The Caps nearly had a shorthanded 2-on-1. Philly did not get a shot on the power play and then promptly turned the puck over directly to Chimera as he exited the box.
Mike Richards took a goalie interference penalty for running into Mason with 7.8 seconds left in the period. The Flyers took 1:53 of power play time into the second period. Shots in the first period were 11-7 Flyers.
Neither the first nor second power play units were able to get set up in the Washington zone until a late unscreened shot by Gagner was stopped from the perimeter with four seconds left in the advantage.
At 2:48, Gudas was called for roughing Ovechkin in the defensive zone corner. The first minute of the kill went smoothly for Philadelphia. A promising-looking shorhanded rush was called down on an offside. Mason stopped a late shot by Carlson as the penalty expired.
Second period shots were 2-2 at a TV timeout stoppage of play in the Philadelphia zone at 6:22.
Ovechkin scored a goal that Mason should have stopped. Gaining the blue line from the right wing, he fired a 46-foot side angle shot past Gudas that found the net to long side to give the Caps a 2-1 lead at 8:50. Oshie got the lone assist.
At 10:43, Daniel Winnik hit Gostisbehere at center ice with the puck nowhere nearby. The Flyers went to their third power play on the interference penalty. At 11:32 Richards roughed Simmonds on the defensive walls and Simmonds retaliated. Both went off. With 44 seconds left on the power play, Orpik was felled by an innocuous-looking Ryan White hit. Orpik had to be helped off the ice. Giroux had a one-timer stopped as the penalty expired.
Gudas hit the post through heavy traffic with a center point shot with about five minutes left. A well-conceived tip attempt for Raffl off a Gostisbehere shot deflected into the crowd.
Mason's 11th save of the game came on Oshie off a 3-on-2 rush, stopping a shot from the top of the right circle with 3:21 left. With 2:22 left, Holtby stopped a nasty Simmonds deflection.
With 1:30 left, Kuznetsov hooked down Raffl going to the net. Philly got another power play chance. Voracek put a right circle shot into Holtby's chest. Holtby picked a Gostisbehere center point one timer. Gostisbehere was called for stick slash with 30 seconds left in the Kuznetsov penalty and time expired in the period.
Shots were 12-7 Flyers in the second period; 23-14 Flyers through two periods.
The Flyers got through the 88 of the 90 seconds on the penalty kill in good shape until Mason boxed a weird carom of a side angle puck off the boards into a point blank rebound that Kuznetsov stashed home at 1:58. Williams and Holtby got assists.
With 15:39 left, Holtby came out of his net to melt down the play with two Flyers nearby to a loose puck. Raffl went to the net for Gagner backhanded passout but Holtby smothered the puck near the post.
With 13:56 left, play went to 4-on-4 on offsetting Streit (roughing) and Oshie (cross-checking) minors in a scrum after the whistle behind the Flyers' net. The Caps got a 1:29 4-on-3 power play as Gudas was called for tripping -- a second after Giroux lost his skates in the offensive zone.
Carlson pumped home his third power play goal of the series through a Williams screen directly in front of Mason, giving the Caps a 4-1 lead on just 20 shots. Assists went to Ovechkin and Williams at 7:37.
Philadelphia went back to the power play on a Karl Alzner interference penalty at 9:42. The Flyers did not score. Holtby snared a Gostisbehere point shot as the penalty expired.
Bedlam ensued behind the Washington net after a bump from Bellemare sent Orlov into the end boards. Bellemare got a checking from behind major and a game misconduct. White got a 10-minute misconduct, as did Gudas. Washington received no penalties. Time was 12:17. Flyers fans threw souvenir wristbands and debris at the officials, receiving a "show some class" rebuke from public address announcer Lou Nolan.
With 2:19 left on the five-minute power play, right after Schultz blocked his shot attempt, the puck went back to Ovechkin again. He ripped a shot into the net. Carlson and Oshie got the assists at 14:58.
Another barrage of wristbands flew out of the stands. The Flyers received a delay of game penalty, giving Washington a 5-on-3 for the next two minutes. When Nolan sarcastically said, "Way to go," to the crowd, they cheered. Matt Read got a slashing penalty at 16:20 to extend the two-man advantage behind the expiration of the Bellemare major.
With 1:40 left in the game, Washington scored its fifth power play of the game. Beagle scored in front. Schmidt and Orlov got the assists.
Shots in the third period were 13-9 Caps; 32-27 for the game.