Another Strong Game from Braden Holtby Helps the Capitals win 1-0 and Advance to Round 2.

The Washington Capitals took care of the pesky Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 1-0 on Sunday afternoon . Washington officially won the seven game series 4-2 and did not allow the Flyers to force another game. The Capitals were led by their stellar goaltender Braden Holtby who picked up the win in a 29 save shutout, his second shutout of the playoffs.

The Philadelphia Flyers looked to pull of another miracle win against the Washington Capitals in Game 6 this afternoon in Philly at an electric Wells Fargo Center. Again the Flyers went with goalie Michal Neuvirth who has been sensational in his past two games going 2-0 with a .987 SV% and a .50 GAA and with one shutout. While the Capitals are hoping goaltender Braden Holtby can turn in another shutout like his Game 1 performance.

Washington Capitals Logo

Game 6 started just like Game 5 did, very physical. In Game 5 there was a fight just 10 seconds into the game. Well, Game 6 started the same way, but no fight was started. Instead, it was just hit after hit after hit from both teams, obviously trying to set the tone early in the game.

Just a couple examples of the physical play was Flyers winger Brayden Schenn absolutely LEVELING Caps center Nicklas Backstrom along the right side boards. As well as Flyers new guy, who was the captain of their AHL team, Colin McDonald CLOBBERING Capitals Andre Burakovsky in the corner of the Caps zone. Both these hits got the home crowd of the Flyers amped up and ready to go!

Now surprisingly there were no great scoring chances by both teams, just a couple outside shots here and there that were easily saved by both goalies. It took a while for the games first penalty to dawn upon us as well. At the 13:18 mark of the first-period Flyers superstar Claude Giroux got the call for hooking Caps winger T.J Oshie. This sent the Capitals to their deadly power play and their first of the game. Philly was up to the task and only let two shots reach Neuvirth and killed off the infraction with awesome shot blocking.

Washington would then go right back on the power play just 4:55 later when Flyers power forward Wayne Simmonds slashed Caps D-man Karl Alzner. The Caps would get a couple quick shots that were easily saved by Neuvirth. On a faceoff play just 45 seconds later Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald missed lifting the stick of Capitals Marcus Johansson and caught him up high with a hi-sticking call. Washington would then go on the 5 on 3 power play.

Then finally, with 31 seconds remaining in the period we get the games first scoring chance thanks to Washington vet Justin Williams. He received a pass in the high slot from center Nicklas Backstrom and fired a quick wrist shot that was turned away nicely by Neuvirth’s blocker. Washington would end the period still on the 5 on 3 PP.

Washington started the second period with the 5 on 3 power play. Nothing came from this two-man advantage as the Flyers were able to kill it off. The next penalty went to Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom as he was slapped with a double minor for hi-sticking Flyers grinder Ryan White. Then as the replays ensued it was really the stick of Philly winger Chris VandeVelde who caught him up high but the penalty didn’t change. Then just five seconds later the Capitals would take another penalty, this time, Washinton D-man Matt Niskanen got a two-minute infraction for hooking Philly winger Wayne Simmonds. This would send the Flyers to a crucial 5 on 3 power play in hope for a goal to break the 0-0 tie.

Philadelphia Flyers Logo

Unfortunately, the Flyers only managed three shots on goal and it was a terrible power play to go along with it. Then to put insult to injury of that awful power play, Flyers grinder Ryan White got called for holding the stick of Capitals defender Matt Niskanen just 6:55 into the second and it nullified the Flyers PP and made the game 4 on 4.When the 4 on 4 ended it sent the Caps to their fourth power play of the game, but only had 30 seconds to work with and blew their chance to strike first as the PP expired.

At 8:59 into the second period we got the games first goal courtesy of Caps center Nicklas Backstrom. Washington star Alex Ovechkin held the puck in at the right blue line, and spotted Caps Winger Marcus Johansson in the slot and hit him with a pass. Johansson settled the puck down and slid the puck over to the goal scorer, Nicklas Backstrom who was standing at the left side dot. Once the puck hit Backstrom’s stick he quickly fired a wrister up high that beat Neuvirth up high for the 1-0 lead.

This goal snapped Neuvirth’s shutout streak at 106:20, an outstanding mark that lasted a game and 2 periods. Washington also finally beat Neuvirth after he saved their previous 72 shot attempts. So clearly the Caps were relieved they were able to finally get a goal. The second period ended with the Capitals up 1-0, so if the Flyers want to keep their playoff hopes alive they better wake up in the third period.

Hey, look! You could have guessed it, the Flyers took ANOTHER penalty. This time is was Flyers winger Sam Gagner who hooked Caps center Evgeny Kuznetsov. Washington would then get their 5th man advantage of the game, but only had one shot on goal. Once again the Flyers were outstanding on the kill.

The rest of the third period was back and forth to say the lease. Each team had numerous scoring chances but were always denied by the goalies of Neuvirth and Holtby. The Flyers would then pull Neuvirth with 1:20 left in the game desperately trying for that tying goal. Sadly, the Flyers were not able to get one past Holtby in the dire minutes of the game and lost Game 6 by a score of 1-0. The last glimmer of hope on the Flyers “cinderella” type season was after that final buzzer rung, their fans immediately gave the team a standing ovation.

Holtby once again played a phenomenal game, saving all 29 shots thrown his way for his second shutout of the series. While Michal Neuvirth played outstanding again in the losing effort stopping 25 out of 26 shots for a .966 SV%.

The Washington Capitals final stat leaders for their first series are as followed. Their leading point getter was Nicklas Backstrom (2G, 5A), leading goal scorer was John Carlson and Alex Ovechkin both with 3 goals and assist leader was Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson both with 5 assists. While their goaltender Brenden Holtby finished the series with a marvelous  4-2 record, a .968 SV%, and a .84 GAA in 6 Games as well as two shutouts.

The Philadelphia Flyers leading point getter was a 4-way tie for first. Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Sam Gagner, and Shayne Gostisbehere all had 2 points (all players had 2 assists), leading goal scorer was a 6 way tie all with 1 goal (Shayne Gostisbehere, Jakub Voracek, Micheal Raffl, Andrew McDonald, Chris VandeVelde, and Ryan White), and leading assist getter were the same 4 people who lead in total points.

While Steve Mason finished his playoffs with a dreadful 0-3 record, a .852 SV%, and a 4.09 GAA in 3 Games (Games 1, 2, and 3) and Michal Neuvirth finished with a 2-1 record, a .981 SV%, and a .67 GAA in 3 Games (Games 4, 5, and 6). You can clearly tell that the Capitals were the better team overall and the Flyers offensive production was bad. A major key on why they got bounced in the first round.

Philadelphia lead in faceoffs (35-24), penalty minutes (10-6), hits (38-32), blocked shots (21-15), and giveaways (14-13). While the Capitals only lead in shots (29-26). Philly finished 0/3 on the power play and Washington finished 0/5.

Washington was able to finish off the Flyers and not allow them to force a Game 7. They won the series 4 games to 2. Philly will now pack their bags and begin the offseason earlier than they hoped for as they are officially eliminated from the playoffs. The Capitals will now take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that will begin as soon as the other four series finish.

 

 

 

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