Wrap: Flyers Fall in 0-2 Playoff Hole, Drop 4-1 Decision to Capitals
The Philadelphia Flyers find themselves in an 0-2 hole in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Saturday evening.
As with Game 1, Philadelphia dominated the first period but could not put a puck past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby. The Capitals then took a 1-0 lead on a John Carlson power play goal through heavy traffic and a botched forward-to-defenseman stick exchange after a broken stick turning the situation essentially into a 5-on-2.
Steve Mason could not be faulted for the first or third Capitals' goals but the second goal was one of the worst in Flyers' playoff history. Mason, who for some reason did not have his stick along the ice, allowed a 101-foot dump-in by Jason Chimera to get through the five-hole.
Jakub Voracek scored the Flyers' first goal of the series to cut the deficit to 2-1 but the Caps restored their two-goal lead on a scorching one-timer by Alex Ovechkin teed up perfectly by Nicklas Bäckström.
One again, the Flyers' power play failed to get the job done. The team went 0-for-3, including a failed lengthy 5-on-3 with the score 1-0 in the first period. The pressure was there but not the results. The Caps went 2-for-2 on two shots.
The Flyers actually got lucky several times as the Capitals put multiple prime scoring chances either off the post, over the net or wide of it in the second and third periods. Finally, Nicklas Bäckström beat Mason high to the short side on a late third-period odd man rush.
Mason finished with 19 saves on 23 shots. Holtby turned back 41 of 42.
Mark Streit blocked an Ovechkin point shot at the end of the game's first shift. Streit's stick broke but he got the job done. The Flyers generated scoring chances for Michael Raffl and Sam Gagner at the other end of the ice.
Philly got off to a 4-0 shot lead through the first 2:30 of the game. Shots were 5-0 when Holtby snared a Laughton right circle shot at 5:01 for a TV timeout.
The Flyers took a needless icing with 13:17 left in the period. The Caps won the draw and nearly scored. Mason made an initial save on Bäckstöm but was hopelessly out of position as Bäckström claimed the puck and passed to Ovechkin in the right slot with only Radko Gudas and a gaping net staring at him. Gudas partially blocked the shot as Ovechkin put it off the outside of the post.
Simmonds swung out in front of the net and was denied from the lower left slot at 9:45. The sequence started with Giroux intercepting an Ovechkin giveaway just outside the Caps' blueline.
Ovechkin deposited Brayden Schenn into the Flyers' player bench with a big bodycheck, drawing a rise from the Verizon Center crowd.
Moments after Brandon Manning grabbed hold of Evgeny's Kuznetsov's stick to prevent a Capitals scoring chance, the Caps got the game's first power play at 13:32. It was a very bizarre delayed call because the Flyers carried the puck up the ice, Mason went to the bench, and the whistle blew when the Capitals touched the puck.
Washington cashed it in at 14;09.
Carlson's center point shot went through layers of screens, including Marcus Johansson directly in front of the net, and went into the net. Bäckström and Johansson got the assists on the power play goal. On the sequence, Schultz broke a stick and Chris VandeVelde went to hand his own to the defensemen but was unable to make the exchange. As VandeVelde went back for a second attempt, the Flyers ended up very passively watching the rest unfold as the Caps moved the puck to their point man and Mason's eyes were taken away by the heavy screen in front of him.
With 4:35 left, Schenn's shot from the slot was stopped.The Cousins line created a mad scramble at the net two shifts later but the Flyers' Scott Laughton could not get a puck over the line despite multiple whacks at it.
At 16:06, the Flyers got their first power play. Jason Chimera went for cross-checking, The Flyers changed the configuration of their first power play unit and nearly scored. Philly got a 5-on-3 for 1:07 as Carlson got a cross-checking penalty. Holtby made a brilliant save on Simmonds and then another save on him before the Caps got a clear. A low percentage Matt Read shot was all the Flyers got during the remaining 5-on-4 time.
Gudas got a cross-checking penalty at the 20-minute mark in response to a Chimera high-stick. The offsetting penalties set up two minutes of 4-on-4 time to start the second period.
Shots in the first period were 19-5 Flyers.
A long Caps' 4-on-3 shift in the Flyers' zone ended with Carlson sneaking past Gostisbehere and taking a setup pass in the right slot. Mason made a tremendous save.
Mason let in an atrocious goal from center ice -- slow motion and right through the five hole no less without his stick along the ice -- at 2:26. Chimera scored it 101 feet from the net. Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen were given assists.
The Bellemare line generated the Flyers first decent forechecking shift since the stunning goal but it was not followed up.
Shots were 24-11 Flyers at a TV timeout with 13:09 left in the period.
Nick Cousins seemingly goaded Andre Burakovsky into a dumb cross-checking penalty after a whistle at 10:50. The penalties were even out as coincidental roughings and play went to 4-on-4. Mason denied a pair of in-close chances and then benefited from a whistle with th
The Flyers finally got their first goal of the series at 9:37. Voracek claimed a loose puck over the middle, moved left and slid the puck home along the ice to cut the gap to 2-1. Assists went to Schenn and Gostisbehere.
Philly went to its third power play at 10:09 as T.J. Oshie was whistled for a defensive zone hook on Gagner. The top unit moved players around to throw some different looks at Holtby but still couldn't find the net despite good pressure. As the penalty expired, a weak one timer from Giroux was swallowed up by Holtby.
Mason denied another close-range chance with about six minutes left -- this one by Justin Williams on the doorstep -- but it was just his 12th save of the game. A few shifts later, Tom Wilson hit the far side post on a 2-on-1. Mason then stopped Bäckström on a 3-on-2 but Mark Streit went off for holding at 16:42.
Once again, Washington scored on the power play. Ovechkin scored on a seed of a one-timer from the left circle off a feed from Bäckström. Johansson got the secondary assist at 17:21.
Mason stopped a point-blank chance for Ovechkin on a behind-the-net passout by Oshie, who outworked Streit down low.
Shots in the second period were 13-12 Capitals; 31-18 Flyers through 40 minutes.
Chimera shot over the net on a 2-on-1 chance from the left slot about a minute into the third period. Holtby denied a Ryan White flip shot from the doorstep at the other end to erase a Washington turnover.
Mason stopped an initial chance for Williams but left out a juicy rebound that Kuznetsov directed off the goal post. At the other end, Holtby did the splits to stop Gostisbehere.
Richards landed a crushing hit on Cousins at the 12:20 mark.
Wilson forced a turnover in the Flyers end, landed a solid hit and forced Mason to cover up on a shot for a stoppage to give the Caps an offensive zone faceoff at 14:16. Williams missed the net on a 2-on-1 rush with about 4:30 left to go.
Bäckström shot and scored high to the short side from the right faceoff circle on a 3-on-2 rush at 17:47. Oshie and Carlson got the assists.
Shots were 11-5 Flyers in the third period; 42-23 Flyers for the game.