As we celebrate the Capitals' 40th anniversary, let's take a moment to...
Legally, the Caps Did Play the Flyers
Headline inspired by Michael Hoffman
Full disclosure: While I root daily for the Caps, I do own a Briere jersey.
That being said, this is not a game I, the fans, or even Troy Brouwer wanted to see.
“You are gonna have minor setbacks, but if you’re gonna have setbacks like that at least you can do it with a good effort,” said the winger, “Tonight was just–I wouldn’t have wanted to pay money to see that hockey game tonight, if I was a Caps fan.”
The Flyers came into Washington without two of their major players, “concussion-like” Chris Pronger and recently concussed Claude Giroux. And though Ilya Bryzgalov has been solid lately, everyone knows there’s no Philly without a goalie controversy.
But instead of going in for the kill, the Washington Capitals sat back, waiting for the honey badger to die. (Hint: Honey badger don’t care)
From the opening face-off, the play was uninspiring on both sides. But a standard zone-entering shot on Tomas Vokoun made all the difference. Fans watched incredulously as the puck went right through Vokoun’s pads–no pressure, no screen, no crazy bounce. And with that Scott Hartnell, Giroux’s heir to Philly’s scoring throne, started the Flyers’ domination.
“We turned it into a practice for our d-zone coverage and their cycles, and [they] wore the game down. They embarrassed us because of it,” said Jeff Halpern.
While the Caps as a complete entity played horribly, it wasn’t the worst collapse of the season. Down one in the first period, Alexander Semin sought to lead the team back, but either stick-handled too much, or just wasn’t lucky enough. Four of his game-topping five hits came in that period.
The team that won on the power play against Toronto had two in the opening period, but despite the strong play, Bryzgalov and his penalty-killers were better.
And then there was the second period.
Put it this way: Marc-Andre Bourdon scored on assists from Zac Rinaldo and Jody Shelley. At one point, there was talk it might have been Shelley’s goal.
Alex Ovechkin summed it up, “I think we lost the game in the second period. We didn’t have any opportunity to turn around the game.”
Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot helped dig the grave, as the Flyers went up 4-0 and outshot the Caps 21-15. The last three shots came in the end of the period as the Caps made some attempt at offense.
Michal Neuvirth started the third period in place of the shaken Vokoun.
Halpern ended up scoring the only goal for the Caps, a happy surprise for Washington fans that had spent most of the night booing. “I thought that was nice that they were still cheering even though what the score was,” said Karl Alzner, “It was nice that there was a few of them that are still into it and are still happy to see us score a goal.”