Giroux: 'It was one of our best games'
Vincent Lecavalier celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in the Flyers' 5-4 win over the Capitals. (AP)
WASHINGTON – Both teams had played 24 hours earlier. Both starting goalies had, too.
And though the Flyers were outplayed for most of the afternoon, they managed to eke out a 5-4 win in overtime, thanks to a most unlikely candidate: Vinny Lecavalier.
The Flyers have now won 11 games this season after trailing at some point in the third period. They have 17 points this year when trailing after two periods.
With the win, the Flyers moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division, at least temporarily. The Rangers, who are now one point behind the Flyers, face Boston tonight.
The game began as these matinee affairs often do: Passes were a little tentative, the pace a bit slow. Of course, with these two teams neck-and-neck in the standings, it didn’t take much for the energy to eventually amp up.
The Capitals opened up scoring at 6:06 of the first period, when Dmity Orlov beat Steve Mason with a one-timer from the circle. They built off that energy as the period went on.
Giroux tied the game up just over five minutes later, with a slapshot that beat Braden Holtby but was originally waived off. Though the game was evened up, the Capitals continued to control the pace, regaining the lead at 13:56 when Marcus Johansson was allowed to stand unbothered in the slot in front of Mason.
The Flyers started out the second period strong, but penalties spoiled what momentum they were able to put together. Adam Hall’s shorthanded goal tied the score at 2-2, but the Caps answered it back with a pair of goals of their own: one from Jay Beagle, and another from Orlov. They carried the 4-2 lead into the final stanza.
Jakub Voracek brought the Flyers to within one in the third period, during Orlov’s five-minute major for charging Brayden Schenn. And it was Voracek again who set up the shot that Giroux tipped in with 1:05 left in regulation.
Lecavalier scored with 2:15 left in overtime to win it.
Goal? No goal?
Giroux’s power-play goal at 11:22 of the first period was originally waived off – but the Flyers didn’t realize it. They celebrated for a good few seconds before noticing the Capitals were still hard at work in the corner. The goal wasn’t deemed a goal until play stopped and it was reviewed.
And then it almost happened again moments later, the other way around. Flyers defenseman Mark Streit, though, was able to push the puck away just before it fully crossed the line. The score remained 2-1 Capitals.
There’s the ire
Caps winger Tom Wilson ran down Mason midway through the first period, after the whistle had been blown when the Flyers’ netminder made a stop. Mason fell backward dramatically, and the two teams began to spar a bit. Wilson was called for roughing; it was the first time all afternoon the game got at all physical. Wilson, you’ll recall, was responsible for the notorious hit on Schenn back in December.
The Flyers’ defense struggled all game. They were caught out of position, standing still or allowing the Caps to get and stay open in their zone. This was no more apparent than the Capitals’ second goal of the night when Nick Grossmann allowed Johansson to stand freely in the slot. Luke Schenn struggled as well, likely screening Mason on the Caps’ first goal of the afternoon.
Caps’ power outage
Ahead of Sunday’s game, the Capitals’ power play had been absolutely on fire. It was second in the NHL, and the Caps had scored four in eight chances in their last two games. The Flyers, as much as their defense struggled, were able to hold the Caps to 0 for 6 – and even scored a shorthanded goal of their own.
The discipline issue
But the other way of looking at those aforementioned power-play numbers is that the Flyers do continue to have a discipline problem. The penalties they took weren’t lazy penalties, they were sloppy and unnecessary penalties. Coach Craig Berube has referred to “bonehead” plays in the past. There were some instances of that yet again Sunday at Verizon Center.
Orlov the Flyer killer
Orlov now has three goals in 36 games this season – all against the Flyers. He also rightly deserved five minutes for this third-period hit on Schenn, as he clearly left his feet to put the check on him.
Downie the Flyer killer
Steve Downie did not have his best game of the season (and yes, that's an understatement). Downie took three penalties against the Capitals, including a double-minor in the second
The game marked defenseman Kimmo Timonen’s 500th as a Flyer. Timonen played just under 20 minutes Sunday afternoon.