Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!

Wrapup: Caps 1-0 Win in Game 6 Ends Flyers' Season

April 24, 2016, 4:41 PM ET [355 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT

A resilient Philadelphia Flyers team is out of the Stanley Cup playoffs after a 1-0 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The top-seeded Caps advance to play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.

After 106:21 of shut out goaltending by Michal Neuvirth, it took an unstoppable Nicklas Bäckström goal at the end of a tic-tac-toe passing sequence for the Capitals to score the only goal they would get -- or need -- over the series' final six periods. Neuvirth stopped 25 of 26 shots overall.

Braden Holtby (26-save shutout) was scarcely tested for two periods but had to make several key saves in the third period to preserve the win.

The Philadelphia Flyers mustered just six goals for the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals -- four that beat Braden Holtby, one that went in off a Capitals' defenseman and an empty net goal. The Flyers went just 1-for-24 on the power play in the series. A two-minute 5-on-3 power play created very little and marked the second failed five-on-3 (along with one in Game 2) of the series. The Flyers had just 15 mostly harmless shots through 40 minutes of Game Six. They had good five-on-five pressure over the latter part of the third period but it proved to be too little and too late before they ran out of time.

"I think we just had to find a way to get a goal on the power play. At 5-on-5 we had a lot of chances there in the third. We kind of put ourselves in that situation," said Flyers captain Claude Giroux.

None among Giroux (one assist), Wayne Simmonds (two assists) or Brayden Schenn (two assists, and the most effective player of the three by far in the series including 21 credited hits) scored a goal in the series. Jakub Voracek struggled throughout the stretch drive and the entire series except for a goal in game two. Mark Streit (one assist) also had a tough time generating offensive.

"We didn’t give either goalie (Neuvirth or Mason) enough run support this series; that’s no secret. Our goalies played well for us throughout the whole series and we just weren’t able to accumulate enough goals to give our goalies help," Schenn said.

The Flyers' much-maligned blueline held up well defensively during the series; blocking a lot of shots and generally keeping play to the outside when they had support from the forwards. Radko Gudas (credited with 10 hits in Game Six, 30 for the series) and Nick Schultz (20 blocked shots for the series) were especially good but all six, including Andrew MacDonald and Brandon Manning defended well.

The goaltending the Flyers received from Neuvirth (and from Steve Mason in Game One) was outstanding. But a goalie alone cannot win a series. Philly got shut out twice, scored just one non-empty net goal three times and never scored more than twice in any game.

“They are the best team in the regular season for a reason. They’re a good all-around team. Their special teams are very good. Their PK, they got it figured out and they shut us down a little bit per say. But you can’t base it all on that. We could have done a lot of things differently. But we are a no excuse team, said Shayne Gostisbehere, who had one goal and one assist in six games.

The penalty kill was a disaster for the Flyers in the early games of the series. They did go 5-for-6 in Game 1 but that was almost entirely due to goaltending. The Caps picked Philly apart in going 7-for-11 in Game 2 and 3. Philly adjusted by bringing more pressure and did a good overall job of staying out of the box in Games 4 and 5.

In Game Six, the Flyers took three first period penalties and had to survive a lengthy 5-on-3 (before one their own). Philly ultimately went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill but it may have served to further deplete the tank of yet more energy despite their strong PK performance.

"It is a lot of young guys on this team who have never played in the playoffs before so it is good experience for them. You know, we played the best team in the league after the regular season, and like I said we gave our best and it wasn’t enough," Neuvirth said.

Before and after the handshake line, the Flyers fans gave the team a standing ovation for a valiant effort and a great turnaround after a tough start to the season.

"Those are the Philly fans we know and love. They’re here through thick and thin and I think that was really classy of them giving us an ovation like that, Simmonds said.

"We really did give it everything we had all year long and obviously we know that we came up a little bit short, but it’s not for lack of effort and like I said we’re going to be building off of this for next year and we’re going to come back bigger, stronger, faster, and better. Thanks Philadelphia fans, that’s for sure."

1st Period

The Capitals had a 3-on-2 rush blocked at the 59-second mark. The Flyers won the draw and broke out. Holtby covered a trickling puck going wide of the net for a stoppage at 1:35.

Ovechkin fumbled the puck near the net on an opening scoring chance. The Flyers had two failed cleared but survived. Neuvirth made the game's first save at 4:04, denying Buravkovsky from the right circle. He stopped a Mike Richards backhanded jam-in attempt at the left post at 4:36.

Shots were 2-0 Caps at a TV timeout at 6:03 after an offside Mark Streit shot the puck out of play for a neutral zone faceoff.

Simmonds blocked an Ovechkin shot to end a Caps threat. Colin McDonald landed a crunching hit on Burakovsky in he offensive right corner shortly after Matt Read got the Flyers' first shot of the game on a 40-foot wrister at 8:10.

Good pinches by Radko Gudas and Brandon Manning and strong forechecking by Sam Gagner produced the Flyers' first extended pressure of the game. Holtby held for a stoppage and TV time out after a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare shoot-in at 11:40. Shots were 5-3 Caps.

Giroux got a hooking penalty in the neutral zone at 13:18. The Caps got the game's first power play. The Flyers were unable to get a clear for over a minute until the defense swept an Ovechkin rebound down the ice. The Flyers had a 3-on-1 opportunity with Giroux existing the box but miss connections on the pass.

Tom Wilson dropped Bellemare with a clean and heavy hit in the Flyers zone. Bellemare bounced back to his feet. Wilson spent the rest of the shift running around the offensive zone looking for hits. He jawed with the Flyers bench at a stoppage with 1:55 left in the period.

The Caps went back to the power play as Simmonds was called for slashing Alzner along the boards in the defensive zone. Neuvirth cleanly absorbed an Ovechkin blast with 1:14 left in the period. The Caps got a 1:09-length 5-on-3 at 19:03 on an Andrew MacDoanld high stick. Neuvirth made several huge stops -- a point-blank Justin Williams shot toughest among them. Washington was still well set up as a shot at the buzzer went wide.

Shots in the first period were 12-5 Capitals.

2nd Period

The Caps took 13 seconds of carry-over 5-on-3 time on the Simmonds' penalty into the second period. There was still 1:04 left on the MacDonald penalty. The first penalty expired as Nevirth turned aside an Ovechkin point shot. Thirty-four seconds remained on the MacDonald minor as the Caps brought a puck back in offside. The Caps were guilty of icing with 11 seconds left.

Shots in the period were 4-1 Caps when Ryan White got a bloody nose with a high stick and got a double minor called on Bäckström. The play was a break for the Flyers because it was actually Chris VandeVelde's stick not Bäckström's. Philly got a 5-on-3 just five seconds later on a Matt Niskanen hook off the faceoff.

Holtby stopped a perimeter Gostisbehere shot. Holtby stopped a Giroux slapper and a Simmonds followup attempt. The 5-on-3 ended after Voracek partially fanned on a shot and the Caps cleared. The rest of the advantage was negated with 1:30 left as White was called for a marginal holding the stick penalty.

With 25 seconds of 4-on-4 time left, the Flyers iced the puck. Dave Hakstol called timeout. Neuvirth picked a Marcus Johansson shot from the right circle as the short Caps power play started.

As the penalty expired, the Caps gained the blueline past Bellemare and worked the puck in tic-tac-toe fashion. Backström buried the shot from the right circle to give the Caps a 1-0 lead. Johansson and Ovechkin got the assists on Bäckström's second goal of the series. The goal came on the Caps' 19th shot of the game at 8:59 of the second period.

MacDonald was denied by Holtby on a jam-in try at the right post at 9:45. It was the Flyers' 10th shot of the game.

After a scary scramble in the Flyers' end and a lost stick for Neuvirth, Philly nearly caught a break when Carlson accidentally deflected a blocked pass on his own net. Holtby stayed with it. At 14:14, Gostisbehere forced a turnover near the Caps blueline but the Flyers weren't able to create anything further out of it.

After a failed clear in the Flyers end, Neuvirth melted play down with a glove save with 5:17 left. A TV timeout ensued. Shots were 20-12 Caps overall (8-7 Caps for the period).

Holtby made his toughest save of the game, picking a point shot through a heavy Colin McDonald screen at 17:51.

Shots in the second period were 11-10 Caps; 23-15 Capitals overall.

3rd Period

With Gostisbehere caught up ice, MacDonald broke up a 2-on-1 rush. At 1:23, Gagner was called for a terrible offensive-zone hooking penalty that never should have been whistled. Neuvirth stopped the lone shot he faced.

Schenn had Holtby backing up into his own net on a shot from the right circle after a Caps' turnover after a 2-on-2 rush for the Giroux line was broken up. The save wasn't pretty but it was made.

Shots were 2-1 Flyers with 13:27 left.

The Flyers had their first flurry of the period after Alzner deflected a puck on his own net.

Nick Schultz made good plays at both ends of the ice to keep a puck alive and then break up a counterattack the other way. Neuvirth made his 27th save at 10:40 on a perimeter shot by Oshie from 45 feet.

At the Caps end, Cousins wasn't able to get to a loose puck in front. Shortly thereafter, VandeVelde had a great chance in close. White deflected a Mannig shot wide off a keep. The Flyers iced the puck with 4:40 left.

Simmonds fired a weak right circle shot on net that Holtby gloved for a stoppage and TV timeout with 3:34 left on the clock. Shots in the period were 8-6 Flyers to that point.

Neuvirth came off for an extra attacker with 1:40 left. The Caps iced the puck with 1:17 left. Voracek was unable to do anything with a Gostisbehere rebound. The Caps iced again with 52.8 seconds left. Streit turned a puck over and the Caps narrowly missed an empty net goal. A last-gasp Simmonds shot was blocked by Alzner. The Caps won the game and series.

Final shots were 29-26 Caps; 11-6 Flyers in the third period.

Before Capitals coach Barry Trotz opened up his postgame press conference for questions, he made a statement about the Flyers.

"I want to congratulate the Philadelphia Flyers on a very good season. I think they had a great series I mean, there’s a lot of character in that room, they’re very well coached, and you know, it was a battle. And they’ve got a great future; got some young stars, some quality veterans," Trotz said.

"Coming into this series I probably looked at it like it was going to be a long series. It wasn’t going to be four and out. When we got to 3-0 we were a little surprised ourselves. But I think it finished up the way we expected it to be, and they had a hell of a season and they’ve done a great job. Getting into the playoffs is not an easy task in the National Hockey League right now, and I want to just salute them for a real great season."

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol was asked what positives the Flyers can take away from the series. Still smarting from the disappointment of not forcing a seventh game in the series, Hakstol deferred the question.

"I think there is a lot of positives, but, right now, the one outstanding fact is we came out. I don’t know if many people gave us an opportunity in this series, but there wasn’t one guy in our room that thought our season would end during this series," Hakstol said.

"We came in with the mentality and confidence to go out and do the job and win the series. Like I said, we came short of that goal. We’ll take a couple days and look at the positives of which there is going to be a great number of positives. Our first and foremost, our goal was to get to Game 7.”
Join the Discussion: » 355 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Bill Meltzer
» Roundup: Flyers-DET Wrap, Carnival Sunday, Phantoms
» Flyers Gameday: 3/25/23 vs DET
» Wrap: JVR Shootout Goal Caps Seesaw 5-4 (1-0) Win over Wild
» Flyers Gameday: 3/23/23 vs MIN
» Wrap: Flyers Surge Past Florida, 6-3