The Capitals came back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period to beat the Flyers in a shootout, 5-4. (USA Today Images)
WASHINGTON -- How can you possibly explain blowing a 4-1 lead in the third period?
Or giving up two goals in the final 3:31?
Or a botched clearing attempt behind the net with sniper Alexander Ovechkin waiting in front?
All of that happened during the Flyers' 5-4 shootout loss to the Capitals on Sunday at the Verizon Center (see story). There seemed to be no consensus as to why it happened, either.
“Up 4-1 with 10 minutes to go, and if you lose a game like that, it doesn’t matter how many goals you have or points you have in the league, it’s a bad loss,” said Mark Streit, who notched his 300th career point with a goal in regulation. “We stopped playing. We got that lead and we're all over those guys with good forechecking and being smart with the puck. Good decisions. Then we relaxed. We stopped playing and we're in our end a lot. We couldn’t get pucks out.”
Coach Craig Berube said he was happy with most of the game but for the final 10 minutes, he felt his team simply stopped being offensive-minded and failed to make plays as the Caps raised the pressure on them.
“You got to keep making plays and keep attacking, keep it down in their end, keep playing and put pucks on net and pressure in their end, and we didn’t do that,” Berube said.
He didn’t agree with Streit, either.
“I’m not sure we relaxed,” Berube said. “We were in our end too much at the end instead of making plays … killing time and getting some offensive chances.
"They got a couple goals. We got back on our heels a little bit. I don't know if you call it trouble. We need to press the issue a little more with the lead."
Flyers captain Claude Giroux seemed in shock.
“We were playing one of our best games,” Giroux said. “I’m not too sure but after they got their second goal, we began holding our sticks too tight against a team like that, which will make you pay.
“We were playing a really good game. They didn’t have much. We were tight on them. You give those guys a little bit of room and they will hurt you.”
Incredibly, even with blowing that lead, the Flyers as a team were plus-5 versus the Caps who were minus-4.
“We were way too passive,” Streit said.
Coming into Sunday, the Caps held the second spot in the Metropolitan Division with 37 points. Now they have 39. The Flyers were already four points out of a playoff spot. Although they picked up a point, they gave a crucial one away to a team ahead of them in the standings.
The Flyers have now lost four on the road in succession and have given up at least four goals per game in regulation over those losses.
“I don’t know, every point in this league is crucial, especially at the end of the season,” Streit said. “You got to learn from it. We’re a pretty good hockey team the way we can play out there.
“You saw that for the most part of the game this afternoon. But on the other hand, you showed a different face [at the end]. We have to play 60 minutes and show some confidence.”