After losing in a shootout to the Lightning on Monday, the Caps looked to bounce back against the boiling hot Philadelphia Flyers.
Once again, out of what appears to be an abundance of caution John Carlson did not play, leaving Radko Gudas to take his spot against his former team.
Additionally, Holtby was given the start against the extraordinarily hot Flyers, meaning that the most likely chance we will get to see Vitek Vanecek again will be on Sunday against the Bruins.
And of course, with Eller out for the birth of his child (Congrats!), Travis Boyd would be filling the third line Center role.
Although the Caps had the better overall record going into today’s game, the Flyers absolutely dominated the season series, winning 3 of the 4 games.
Ovechkin showed he came to play with two big early hits, as did much of the team. While an increase in physical play has to be a part of the plan against any Flyers team, what wasn’t part of the plan was the early penalties the Caps found themselves taking. Despite not allowing any goals on the first two penalty kills, undisciplined play still put the Caps down early as an awful turnover from Gudas led to this goal from Scott Laughton
A relatively uneventful first period followed after that, with the exception of a Powerplay and a half, neither of which the Caps scored on. The physical play continued from the Caps, as at the intermission they were up 17-7 in hits.
The worst news of the period was that Kuzy went to the locker room with an injury late in the period.
Fortunately for the Caps, Kuznetsov would return at the beginning of the second period. Unfortunately, however, the parade to the penalty box continued.
Although the Caps were able to kill all four of those penalties, the lack of 5v5 ice time put them at a severe disadvantage, as they were completely unable to generate shot attempts, ultimately leading to this goal.
In the 5v5 time they got, they did have more shot attempts than the flyers (9-5), but there was so little of it that overall they were still outclassed in that category 15-11 (via Natural Stat Trick).
The third period was much better for the Caps, as they managed not to take 4 penalties in a single period. Unfortunately, they still gave up a pretty ugly goal.
Another brutal Caps defensive zone turnover, coupled with puck watching in front of our own net led to that goal. The only bright spot for the Caps came from a late goal from Travis Boyd, which incidentally was the first in his career.
Ultimately though, the story of the game was penalties. Although they did not allow a single powerplay goal, the constant trips to the penalty box disrupted their five on five play enough that they were unable to generate any real opportunities, with the exception of one breakaway from Vrana.
This Sunday, the Caps will look to avoid going 0-3 in the round robin as they take on the President’s Trophy winning Boston Bruins.