The morning after: Flyers @ Capitals 11.20.10

“The morning after” is a review of the previous night’s Flyers’ game which, in theory, provides a more objective perspective on the game.

Coming off two losses, both of which had a lack of defensive play, the Flyers needed to not only win this game, but play a better defensive game against a very high-scoring and deeply talented Washington Capitals team.  

Brian Boucher got the start in this game, giving Sergei Bobrovsky a much-deserved rest, and some fans angina.

The Flyers were thoroughly outplayed in the first period.  At the end of the period, it should have been at least 4-0.  It was only 1-0 due to some spectacular saves by Boucher, the crossbar, the posts, and some broken sticks.

The Flyers looked better in the second, but failed to score on a good amount of 5-on-3 time.  This is something they need to work on.  In fact, at one point during the second period, I was afraid the powerplay payoff would be a million dollars before it was won again.  Alas, the Flyers finally scored on the PP – a dirty goal by Claude Giroux (a body shot) off somewhere in the pants region (of course this would happen in a game against Alexander Semin).  See his interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUI-GRE_CAk (a big thanks goes out to @tenthmile on Twitter for this video).  Mike Richards also had a goal, shooting the puck into the net while Scott Hartnell distracted the Capitals defense and drew attention away from Richards.

Somehow, the Flyers went into the third period with a 2-1 lead in the game.  Jeff Carter then scored with a roof shot on a good screen by Jody Shelley to make it 3-1.  However, the lack of discipline by the Flyers allowed two back-to-back goals on Capitals powerplays. Then, Andreas Nodl scored on highlight reel spin-around backhand.  Nodl now has five goals this season – I guess you cannot call him “No-goal” anymore.

Danny Briere took a late-period high sticking penalty, allowing for a Capitals PP to finish the game.  The Capitals pulled their goalie to make it 6-on-4, and the Capitals scored to tie up the game and send it to overtime.

Overtime had some very exciting end-to-end action, and included a Flyers PP with 1:48 left in OT (where they had good pressure but not many shots got through).  Thus, the game was decided by a skills competition.  This was the Flyers first shootout since infamous NYR game to finish the regular season last year… Briere scored the only goal for either side, and the Flyers won the game.  Which means Boucher did his shootout win dance!

Snapshots:

  • Boucher made some good saves, but missed a couple of savable goals.
  • The crossbar and posts were Boucher’s friends this game.
  • Marcus Johansen scored the first goal off a turnover, and was wide open in the slot for the shot.
  • The Flyers sat back a bit and looked slow to start the game. They really did not take advantage of a team that played day before (again).  At some point, they need to start jumping in these games.  If they get the other team down early, the fatigue may set in and it would be an easier game.
  • The Flyers had some sloppy passing, and long stretches where they could not keep up pressure in the offensive zone.  They also had some bad giveaways and turnovers which led to great scoring chances for the Capitals (including at least two breakaways for Alex Ovechkin – a guy you probably don’t want going one-on-one with your goalie).
  • Most times, when Richards scores (or gets an assist), it means the team wins.  This was true in this game as well.
  • Nikolay Zherdev played less than seven minutes, and was quickly demoted from the first line to the fourth, and then to missing shifts and sitting.
  • Even though the Flyers scored on the powerplay, they looked sloppy and could not keep the offensive pressure on for most of the PP opportunities.
  • Washington has the most annoying goal celebrations – hey guys, you didn’t win anything!  It’s not the Stanley Cup!  It’s not even the playoffs!
  • Flyers needed to win this one, and ended up stealing it from the Capitals in the shootout.
  • Speaking of shootouts, I will say it until I’m blue in the face.  I hate shootouts.  I hate that a 65-minute team game is decided by a one-on-one skills competition.  If you want excitement, wouldn’t the same be garnered by 3-on-3 action?  How much longer would the game go? 
  • This was Hartnell’s 700th game.
  • Did you know?  Santa Sacks are on sale now! 
  • I think we need to rename “movember” to “creepyvember”.  Is it possible to have a good mustache and not be creepy?
  • Also, if you haven’t seen this yet, this is the Pat Burns tribute that played in Montreal last night: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=35&id=83864