Photo: Len Redkoles
All I wanted from this Capitals-Flyers game was a quiet affair, free of histrionics, that ended in a regulation win. After what feels like weeks of the cardiac Caps and their inconceivable comebacks, I need the hockey equivalent of warm milk and a Downton Abbey marathon. Despite my earnest pleadings, I was denied a calm, drama-free night. Instead I got a decent hockey game that devolved into something dumb and violent. And not dumb and violent in a fun, hockey way– where there’s lots of big, clean hits and chirping. No, we got the kind with the post-whistle scrums, the fights that lead to injuries, and the bad hits that lead to injuries and suspensions. Dumb.
In perhaps his most sedate goal yet, Alex Ovechkin put an indifferent backhand past Steve Mason during an early power play in the second period. The Flyers responded immediately– like any true Caps opponent– with a snazzy goal by Jacob Voracek. Then Eric Fehr realized he was wearing his Winter Classic uni and decided to score one of his own, taking a pass from Troy Brouwer below the goal line. Matt Read and company outworked Carlzner and the top line to tie the game again.
Then Tom Wilson put a dirty hit on Brayden Schenn and the Flyers punished the Caps for it. Twice. Wayne Simmonds added to the rout in the third, taking a gimme puck from John Carlson before beating a besieged Braden Holtby.
Flyers beat Caps 5-2.
Okay, that was bad. The Capitals were playing an unspectacular-but-competent game for awhile there, and then they let the Flyers dictate play as it got more violent. Then Tom Wilson took it way too far, and I’m not capable of defending that hit anymore than I already have.
After two stunning games against Philadelphia, the Caps have handed them a big win– both morally and practically. Not a whole lot for the boys to be happy about in this one.
Friday. Raleigh. Semin. Time for some redemption. See you then.
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