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Wrapup: Flyers Blanked 2-0 by Caps in Game 1

April 14, 2016, 10:27 PM ET [579 Comments]
Bill Meltzer
Philadelphia Flyers Blogger •NHL.com • RSSArchiveCONTACT

A strong first period and very strong goaltending went to waste as the Flyers dropped a 2-0 decision to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Thursday night.

The Flyers wasted three power play in the first period. The Capitals concentrated on pressuring the left side and the point with the Flyers top power play unit on the ice. The second unit outperformed the first unit but could not generate a goal. Philly ended up going 0-for-4.

Overall, the Flyers played a solid game at five-on-five for the first 30 minutes but they get into major penalty trouble as the game progressed, including a double-minor in the third period.

“I really liked our effort,” said Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol. “That was a tough hard hockey game. There were some things that we’ll clean up and talk about, some things that we can certainly do better in a lot of respects, and we’ll do that. It’s game one of the series. They got the first one. We’ve got to go back to work here tonight and tomorrow and get ready for Game 2.”

Late in the second period, the Capitals made Philadelphia pay for a delay of game penalty on Brandon Manning.

"The rule is there for a reason, I guess. . . . But just a deflection like that, I don't think it should be a penalty," Manning said. "It was just a reaction. The D-man dumped it in, and I kind of had my stick out and reacted to it. It deflected out; it definitely wasn't intentional."

The Capitals promptly took the lead on a point shot that deflected both off Philadelphia's Chris VandeVelde and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Washington went 1-for-6 on the power play.

Late in the third period, Washington got an insurance goal on an odd-man counterattack off a neutral zone turnover by the Flyers' Jakub Voracek. Jay Beagle got the second goal, supplementing John Carlson's earlier power play tally. Marcus Johansson assisted on both tallies. Nicklas Bäckström got a secondary assist on the first goal.

“They create a lot. They come from every which way. Overall though I think we did a good job of containing them. The first one they got a lucky break off a couple bounces; the second one they make a nice play from the blue line there," said Flyers goaltender Steve Mason.

Both goaltenders were excellent in the game. Mason was outstanding in stopping 29 of 31 shots and came up big time and time again. Braden Holtby was not busy at all after the first period (just 11 shots combined) but was tested several times in making 11 first period saves on the way to a 19-save shutout.

“They played a good game at the end there. We did have a lot of penalties and it’s a little frustrating because we were right in the game the whole game," said Flyers captain Claude Giroux.

The Flyers suffered a costly injury midway through the game. Second line center Sean Couturier suffered an apparent arm injury on a hit by Washington's Alex Ovechkin. He did not return. Couturier, who wore a sling after the game, will be re-evaluated on Friday.


The Capitals held a moment of silence in memory of Ed Snider before the game. To their credit, the Washington fans were completely respectful.

The Flyers generated good puck pressure and took away time and space from the Capitals for most of the first period. They had three power play chances to none for Washington, but could not convert any of them into a goal. At even strength, Brayden Schenn and the Nick Cousins line had a strong period for Philadelphia.

Ryan White landed the game's first solid body check, blasting Andre Burakovsky in the corner. Moments later, the Capitals had the game's first odd-man rush (a 2-on-1) but the pass went awry.

Jakub Voracek made a powerful inside cut to beat the defense off the rush and drew a hooking penalty on John Carlson at 3:30. The second power play unit had two in close flurries after a dominating PK shift by Justin Williams in particular against the first unit. Holtby

With 13:13 left in the first period, Mason made his second save and first difficult one, snapping up a Kuznetsov deflection with his glove.

Philly got another rpower play at 7:50 as Brooks Orpik came in high on Nick Cousins in the corner and got a check-to-the-head minor. Holtby made back to back saves on Brayden Schenn from the left hash marks and then a rebound try by Voracek at the bottom of the right circle.

Holtby made a good stop on a bang-bang chance for Michael Raffl from the top of the circle after a Washington turnover. Shots were 7-2 Flyers with 8:23 left at a TV timeout before a left circle faceoff in the Flyers' zone.

The Caps forechecked possession of the puck and got a point shot on Mason that the Flyers' goalie absorbed with no traffic around him. Shot number four for the Caps was a side-angle shot from above the circles when the puck bounced to him off the boards with 6:50 left.

Philly got their third power play of the first period as Orpik hit Nick Cousins, who did not have the puck, in the Caps' zone. Time of the penalty was 14:14. The Flyers, with the second unit getting more ice time than the first, got only an unscreened Mark Streit point shot.

With 1:53 left, Matt Read got the Flyers' 10th shot of the period, taking a Sam Gagner passout into the right circle. Holtby came out to challenge and it turned into a fairly routine save.

The Caps got a point shot through traffic in the final minute but Radko Gudas blocked a momentarily open rebound attempt. Shots were 11-8 Flyers.


Philly came again with strong puck pressure, and a 2-on-1 rush for Gagner and Cousins about two minutes into the period. Two shot attempts in front got blocked.

At 2:57, Streit got a holding penalty and the Caps went on their first powerplay. Washington applied furious pressure, forcing Mason to make four saves. Shortly after the power play expired, Mason denied a point blank chance for Kuznetsov.

Shots for the period were 6-0 Capitals at a TV timeout with 13:47 left in the period.

Gagner created heavy pressure in the Caps zone and a Manning point shot rebound sat loose in front briefly. At 8:50, Dmitry Orlov went to the box for tripping Gagner. Philly went on its fourth power play. With 27 seconds left, Holtby swallowed up a Streit point shot with Ryan White in front. With 17 seconds left, Holtby claimed a Schenn shot from the left hash marks off a Giroux pass.

Ovechkin hit the post on a blast from the the left circle and the puck went up in the safety netting at 11:30. After a good zone entry the other way by Wayne Simmonds on the net shift, Mason held onto a side-angle shot for a faceoff.

Sean Couturier did not skate a shift after a 34-second shift (10:58 to 11:22), when he took a check into the boards by Ovechkin. He seemed to have injured his shoulder or arm.

Ryan White took a charging penalty in the offensive zone as the Caps were about to break out at 13:28. Washington went on its second power play. Mason stopped an Ovechkin one-timer and then a deflection in front. Gudas blocked an Ovechkin shot. Mason found a Carlson point blast and covered the rebound. Mason then stopped Jason Chimera from the right slot. It was his 20th save.

Manning deflected an aerial puck in the defensive zone over the glass and got a delay of game penalty for batting it out of play at 16:02. The Caps broke through for the game's frst goal at A center point shot by Carlson deflected off Pierre-Edouard Bellemare about 20 feet in front of the net and skittered past Nicklas Bäckström and Mason for a power play goal. Marcus Johansson and Bäckström got the assists at 16:21.

With 1:37 left, the Flyers took an icing after Mason denied Bäckström at the net. The Flyers won the next draw.

Shots in the second period were 14-4 Capitals; 22-15 Caps through two periods.


An initially promising rush by the Cousins line went offside at the 1:06 mark. The Capitals went to their fourth power play at 2:30 when the Flyers got flagged for too many men on the ice. White served the penalty. The Flyers blocked multiple shot attempts, including two for Ovechkin.

Holtby exaggerated a routine glove slave on Manning with a dramatic snap out of the air. On the same play, though, Gagner got a high-sticking double-minor. Wt 3:34 left, Mason made a point-blank save on Oshie. The Flyers clamped down with a couple clears, a few blocks and a Capitals icing. The Flyers got through the kill in good shape. Giroux snapped a late shot on net, which Holtby held with Gudas bearing down on him.

Brayden Schenn crunched Mike Richards with a big hit in the attack zone corner. The former Flyers captain took exception but nothing further ensued.

With 6:51 left after a boarding by Tom Wilson, Simmonds fought -- and beat -- Wilson in a long bout. Both players got additional minors, removing Simmonds from the rest of regulation; a bad trade-off for Philly.

With 5:31 left, play went to 4-on-4. Gostisbehere (interference) and Burakovsky (slashing) went off on coincidental minors. With 4:17 left, the Flyers could not control a puck at the blueline and Mason had to make a sliding pad save on a Kuznetsov backhander.

The Caps iced the game as a bad Voracek neutral zone turnover turned into a 3-on-2 and Beagle was able to measure and bury a center slot blast off a feed by Johansson at 16:36.

Shots in the third period were 9-4 Capitals; 31-19 Capitals for the game.
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