Capitals Dominate Flyers, 5-2
The Philadelphia Flyers suffered their first loss in regulation Thursday night when they fell to the Washington Capitals, 5-2.
Coming in with a 4-0-1 record, Thursday night was supposed to be a display of how the Flyers matched up with the best of the Eastern Conference. The result showed they have more than a few improvements to make.
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was ready to put the loss behind him immediately afterwards.
“It’s a rivalry team and obviously we want to win,” he said. “Unfortunately we can’t deliver it and we have to prepare for the next game and move forward.”
The Flyers (4-1-1) opened the scoring with a beautiful breakaway goal by Claude Giroux. The play began in the Philadelphia zone when Wayne Simmonds forced a puck free at the top of the point, which Giroux promptly brought to the opposite end of the ice.
The goal was Giroux’s fifth of the season.
Washington (6-0-0) would capitalize four minutes later after a defensive zone turnover by Scott Hartnell.
Following a Washington shot, Braydon Schenn played the rebound up the left boards. Hartnell, who had no challenging players remotely close to him, immediately threw the puck to the center of the ice rather than moving the puck out of the zone.
Washington forward Mathieu Perreault intercepted the pass and shot the puck, which ultimately hit Philadelphia defenseman Braydon Coburn’s stick and went into the net.
In total, three of Washington’s five goals were re-directed by a Flyer.
Shortly after the Perreault goal, Washington scored again when Alexander Ovechkin was able to sneak in behind Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros on the goal mouth.
Following a scoreless second period, the Capitals dominated the third.
The scoring began when Washington defenseman Roman Hamirlik threw a shot from the point that deflected off Giroux and went into the net.
Less than two minutes later, Ovechkin added another goal on a power play. Forward Joel Ward would continue the scoring when he capitalized on a sloppy play by goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Flyers issues began early when Daniel Briere was called for hooking less than two minutes into the game. Forty-four seconds later, defenseman Andrej Lilja was sent to the box for holding.
In total, the Flyers were called for six penalties on Thursday night, four of which were stick-related.
Penalties have been a huge problem for the team this year and it’s something Flyers captain Chris Pronger realized.
“Turnovers and penalties killed us,” he said. “They ruin the flow of the game. They ruin the bench and at some point they were going to come back and get us and it did tonight”
Philadelphia’s captain thought the penalties and turnovers are a result of the team not moving their feet.
“You stop supporting the puck and you turn the puck over,” he said. “You get caught on the wrong side a lot and start reaching in with your stick and your stick comes up.”
Coach Peter Laviolette thought the Flyers’ mistakes caught up to them Thursday.
“We did turn the puck over a little bit too much in the neutral zone,” he said. “They have a quick transition team so they came back.”
The Flyers undisciplined play continues to be a cause for concern. Laviolette and Pronger have made it clear over the last two games that penalties cause the team to have to shorten the bench.
It has had an impact in creating a flow for their players.
The Flyers have had to kill off at least five penalties in each of their first six games. In total, the team has had to kill of 36 penalties, the second most of any other team in the league.
Kimmo Timonen, who played in his 900th career NHL game Thursday, was tired of the penalties.
“Anything that goes over four or five, that’s killing the bench,” he said. “…Obviously that’s a little bit of a problem…we have to change.”