Flyers notch pivotal comeback win over Capitals in OT

Flyers notch pivotal comeback win over Capitals in OT

March 31, 2013, 10:45 pm
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Seems like yesterday, the Flyers rolled over for the New York Rangers and pretty much kissed any chance of the playoffs goodbye.
 
Now, three games and five points later, despite losing two defensemen and now another forward (Max Talbot) to injury (see video), the Flyers have resurrected themselves to within two points of the eighth-seeded Rangers.
 
Easter Sunday saw the unlikeliest of heroes, Ruslan Fedotenko, score in overtime, giving the Flyers a stunning, 5-4 comeback victory against the Washington Capitals. The win capped off a remarkable weekend with a victory over Boston, that no one saw coming, either.
 
“We could have lost that game tonight,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “In my opinion, it wouldn’t have taken away from the effort on the ice … right now, it seems like it’s all about the points.
 
“So when you go through a couple games like the Rangers and Islanders and not getting the points, and things aren’t coming your way, it makes things difficult. But I really like the last couple games. We keep marching forward, looking for points.”
 
The backdrop to this was Jakub Voracek, standing up for Claude Giroux in the third period and fighting Steve Olesky for his hit on the Flyers' captain (see video).
 
Voracek drew 19 penalty minutes that resulted in a four-minute Caps power play in which Washington scored twice, snapping a 2-2 tie and grabbing a 4-2 lead. He got an instigator, plus an extra two for fighting with a visor, aside from the five-minute major for fighting and 10-minute misconduct.
 
“I ran up to [Olesky] and he turned around and I had no choice after it,” Voracek said. “Obviously, I wasn’t very happy about the result, basically 19 minutes for a fight and be thrown out of the game. I’m very happy we came back, we got a huge two points.”
 
Marcus Johansson’s go-ahead goal came because Giroux failed to clear a puck, making Giroux feel even worse.
 
“I wasn’t very happy,” Giroux said. “Put it behind me … we came back from it. Crowd was in there. It’s hard not to put anything on myself after a turnover like that and they score.
 
“It’s an easy play to get out. It’s the play to do, especially in the third period. I just knew I had to get that out.”
 
Giroux seemed possessed at the end to make a difference.
 
“He is one of those guys who wants to make a difference,” Laviolette said. “I like the fact that he goes on the ice and asserts himself the way he does when you need to turn the game into a different direction.”
 
When Alex Ovechkin made it 4-2 with another power play goal at 6:48, it seemed over.
 
And then Giroux, feeling responsible, got determined.
 
“The whole team to come back like that, it’s a great game to have as a team, Jake dropping the glove, you don’t see that every day,” said Giroux, who scored one goal six minutes later, and then Kimmo Timonen sent it into overtime with a goal in the final 9.5 ticks of regulation.
 
The Wells Fargo Center exploded. That kind of energy has been missing all season, especially in third periods.
 
"It’s a big win,” Ilya Bryzgalov said. “Seems like [we're] having fun on the ice, we’re not [holding] the sticks so tight right now.
 
“It’s more look like loose, relax and some things start going our way, bounces and other things.”
 
Now, the tragic news. Talbot suffered either a left knee or leg injury late in the second period on a board collision with Caps defenseman Mike Green and did not return. He had to be carried into the dressing room. No Talbot. No Danny Briere. No Nick Grossmann. No Braydon Coburn. No Andrej Meszaros.
 
No chance to win, right?
 
Yet the Flyers swept the weekend. That’s improbable.
 
“Playing with confidence is huge,” Matt Read said. “It's something I think we've been lacking all year. I thought this weekend is a good weekend for all of us. A lot of families in town and you can kind of get away off the ice, nothing but hockey a lot.
 
“You come in the locker room and you're just having a little bit more fun. The confidence showed on and off the ice. The result is getting two points in both games.
 
“Hopefully, we can keep having fun in this locker room, find ways to win hockey games, and make a run for a top-eight position.”
 
After an early goal from Washington’s Nick Backstrom, Talbot snapped a four-game skid without a point with his fifth goal at 10:26 to tie it on a nice backhand feed from Zac Rinaldo, who took a swing at a puck off the back boards and apparently knocked it right into the paint for Talbot. Question is whether Rinaldo actually touched it or whether the carom off the boards (Timonen shot) carried the puck into the slot.
 
“Kimmo jumped into the play and the puck went back to him on the point,” Talbot said. “He is such a smart defenseman out there.
 
“If he isn't going to take a shot on net, you know he's going to go for something else and he went for the backboard. I kind of read it and the puck landed right on my stick.”
 
The goal brought the Flyers to life as did Bryzgalov’s right-pad stop of an Ovechkin semi-breakaway minutes later.
 
Before the period ended, Giroux gave Read a blind, turnaround feed up the middle of the ice for a breakaway and Read wristed his ninth goal past Braden Holtby for a 2-1 lead.
 
Bryzgalov gave his team a couple of clutch saves on Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer in the final minutes as the Flyers were again defending a 5-on-3 power play.
 
The Caps tied it in the second period on a Green breakaway coming out of the penalty box in the final 1:38 of the period. Talbot left the game soon after when he and Green collided along the boards.
 
That set up the third period drama leading to Fedotenko’s overtime-winner. He’s scored some very big goals in the playoffs, yet hasn’t had a meaningful regular season goal in a very long time.
 
When was the last time?
 
“Hmm, that’s a good question,” Fedotenko said. “I can’t recall it.
 
“I feel like whenever you score, it’s great and in the moment but then you just file it back, try to score another one and not live in the past.”
 
Right now, the Flyers are living in the future where Montreal comes to town on Wednesday.