Just before four AM this morning, I pulled myself from bed, took my medication, and crawled back upstairs. But I never went back to sleep. Playoff hockey is here. Time to grab the wine. Things are about to get real.
After a sluggish start, John Carlson opened the scoring with a blast from the point. Naturally, there were 38 minutes of penalties, but skill won out in the end — especially after Jay Beagle’s late third-period insurance goal. Caps blank Flyers 2-0! One-nil series lead.
Photo: Patrick Smith
Today’s the day. The spotlight is on, the bandwagon is full and I already feel like I’m going to throw up. We’re at home for Game One and Game Two and anything but a 2-0 start is going to be a tough pill to swallow for this team.
The Flyers of course want to throw this entire area into a chaotic mess. Claude Giroux and the boys come into Washington looking to steal a game before they head back to Philadelphia. Say your prayers, wear your lucky socks, grab a seat and be ready to get on a ride that will only end two ways.
First liveblog of the playoffs below.
Photo: Chris Gordon
Pitter-patter, let’s get at ‘er. The regular season is over and now the real dance begins.
At 7 PM tonight, the Capitals and the Flyers will face off at Verizon Center (or on CSN-DC).
You’ve been waiting for this since last May, and now it’s here. Crash the net.
|Team||Record||Possession||PDO||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Washington Capitals||56-18-8||52.0%||101.1||21.9% (5th)||85.2% (2nd)|
|Philadelphia Flyers||41-27-14||50.1%||100.5||18.9% (11th)||80.5% (20th)|
Photo: Rob Carr
First impressions make a difference. In December of his rookie season, Tom Wilson made himself known to fans of the Philadelphia Flyers with a savage charge on forward Brayden Schenn. Since then, Wilson has been a marked man.
“We don’t want to be liked by them,” Wilson said of the Flyers Tuesday, two days before the Capitals face Philadelphia in Game One the opening round of the playoffs. “Hopefully, we can keep it that way, that they hate our guts.” (more…)
Photo: Nick Wass/AP
By now you already know that the Caps play the Flyers in round 1 and the series starts on Thursday. Given that they’re the one seed, the Caps will be picked by many as heavy favorites in the series. But don’t let the Flyers’ low seed fool you. They are a capable, scrappy bunch who have played some of their best hockey of the season over the last two months or so.
In the regular season, the Caps compiled a 2-0-2 record against the Flyers with both wins coming in regulation.
For today, we’re going to look at how both of these teams perform at 5-on-5 and what that may be able to tell us about the upcoming series.
Yahoo Sports just leaked the schedule for the first round of the playoffs. The Capitals/Flyers series begins Thursday night at 7:00 PM at Verizon Center. Game 2 is another 7:00 PM start on Saturday, with the Caps busing up to Philadelphia Monday and Wednesday.
For some reason, the NHL has marked games five through seven as “if needed,” but this is the Washington Capitals. They’re gonna be needed.
More details under the jump.
On Wednesday night, the Capitals lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout. That game carried extra weight as those teams are likely to face one another in the first round of the playoffs: Washington as the one seed, Philadelphia as the eight.
On Thursday afternoon, esteemed hockey data visualization person Micah McCurdy released the startlingly pretty graph you see excerpted above. It shows first-round match-ups and each team’s likelihood to advance past that round and beyond.
Micah’s model has the Capitals facing the Flyers — and losing — in the first round. Sorta.
Wednesday night in Philadelphia, Holtby got a roughing minor, his third minor penalty of the year, after Sean Couturier got a wee bit too close to Holtby’s cage.
I had a vision of the Caps vs Flyers in round one, and it was ugly. The Caps and the Flyers are 60-something percent likely to match up in the first round of the playoffs, so Wednesday night’s rivalry night game was supposedly a preview of what we’ll see in a few weeks. If that’s the case, I feel mostly good about the Caps’ chances despite the gimmick loss, but I feel absolutely terrible about the stomach ulcer I’m already developing.
The game was agonizingly scoreless until early in the third period, when Evgeny Kuznetsov’s seam pass reached the Ovi spot. With five minutes left, the Flyers’ Brayden Schenn converted a power play, pushing us into overtime. The Flyers survived a Caps OTPP and pushed us all the way to the shootout, and you know what that means….
Flyers beat Caps 2-1 in the shootout. Blech.
The other night the Caps got that little p next to their name on the NHL.com standings page, indicating that they’ve locked the Presidents’ Trophy. The remainder of the regular season means very little now except for setting the tone for the playoffs, and on that point the Caps are in Philadelphia today. Their match against the Flyers tonight is likely a prelude to the first round of the postseason.
So that’ll be interesting. Tune in at 8 PM on NBC Sports. I’ve got recap duty.
|Team||Record||Possession||PDO||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Washington Capitals||54-16-5||51.4%||101.4||22.7% (2nd)||84.8% (4th)|
|Philadelphia Flyers||37-25-13||49.9%||100.9||18.0% (18th)||80.8% (19th)|
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