Photo credit: Len Redkoles
Guys, I’m literally rewriting this right after the final buzzer. No time for poetry. I mean freaking come on. The Washington Capitals shoulda beat the Philadelphia Flyers. They had a lead and then nuked it from orbit in the final minutes. Philly forced OT and stole two points. iwe bgiwe9w7ebciwebiwqyd k24g I haven’t seen a disaster like this since the Fist of the First Men.
This one hurts.
Flyers beat Caps 5-4 (Overtime)
- Nick Backstrom scored a pretty goal in his 400th game. Occupying the low slot, Backstrom tipped in a waist-level shot from Jack Hillen. It was also Hillen’s first point as a Cap– in his 10th game.
- The Flyers evened it up shortly after, as Max Talbot, utterly open in the slot, bulged the net on a pass from known heel Zac Rinaldo. Alzner and Green didn’t have remotely enough gusto in their own zone.
- The Caps didn’t have remotely enough anything in their own zone a few minutes later — giving Matt Read mucho space on a breakaway goal to make it 2-1. Like Frankovic said, it doesn’t matter how good your team’s possession is if your defense keeps breaking down.
- The Flyers fans thought they had a third goal, but Wayne Simmonds powerslamming Braden Holtby a few seconds earlier kinda nullified it. Claude Giroux, whom I love, held the puck on the next face off, giving the Caps a full two minutes of 5-on-3 for them to utterly squander like a per diem in Las Vegas. The Caps are in the bottom third of teams when it comes to generating shots with the two-man advantage.
- The Caps power play was a stinky diaper (with the exception of that one in the third). I said in my halfway post that the shot generation on PP wasn’t high enough to keep the team among the league’s best, and it seems that’s happened. I’d have rather been wrong.
- The flip side of that coin is much more shiny. The Caps PK limited the Flyers to 4 shots and 0 goals over 6 power play minutes through the first 40.
- Mike Green finished serving a holding penalty late in the second. Brooks Laich saw him exit the gate and threaded him a long pass. Green glided into the Flyers zone and scored a lovely tying goal. Green has missed huge chunks of the last three seasons, and Laich came back just last week. And because it’s Philly, you should have seen this next bullet coming…
- Max Talbot took aim and laid into Mike Green along the boards. Green dodged the hit, and Talbot seemed to land awkwardly, apparently injuring his knee (although Whyno thinks Green may have cut ’em). Lady Byng Anti-Monitor Zac Rinaldo was for some reason incensed by Talbot’s self-injury and so, naturally, he charged Green. Sometimes I wonder if Steve Downie went to the Avalanche because the Eastern Conference couldn’t withstand two of these guys.
- Steve Oleksy delivered a blistering but clean hit to Giroux in the third period. Jakub Voracek then mugged Oleksy without taking off his visor. That’s a double minor, homes. Marcus Johansson scored on the first half after Claude Giroux choked. Alex Ovechkin scored from the Ovi spot on the second half. So the power play kinda turned it around, eh?
- Ovi’s point streak is now at 8 games. 6 shots on net.
- The Flyers engineered a B.S. icing call in the final seconds. That offensive-zone draw led to the game-tying goal in the waning seconds– an eerie reversal of Saturday night and a reminder that a team who often wins by a razor’s edge also loses by the same margin.
This is not the recap I wanted to write. I had this whole thing about being in the playoff picture for the first time since the mid 80s, but Philly had other plans. Lots of deleting up in RMNBHQ tonight.
The Caps are now one point out of Eighth place. We should divest ourselves of the notion that they’re gonna jockey for a lottery draft pick. It ain’t happening. That doesn’t mean this team is built to go far in the playoffs, but neither was Hunter’s crew last year, and they still gave us 14 damn fun games.
Real quick. Scenarios from best to worst: Caps win the Cup. Caps make playoffs and go deep. Caps get lottery pick. Caps make playoffs and lose early. Caps miss playoffs just barely. Caps all develop synthetic cannabinoid habit.
Tonight’s game is a good example of how this version of the Caps isn’t really going to hit either of those first two cases. I’d love it if they were strong enough to be the team to grab and sustain a two-goal lead, but it doesn’t seem likely. Losses like this happen to all teams, but only smart teams learn from ’em.
We now enter maybe the most important week of the Caps franchise this year. Deadline is Wednesday.