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Simmerdown: Flyers best Caps in shootout

It took four shooters and 65 minutes of play, but the Philadelphia Flyers managed to earn themselves an extra point with a 2-1 shootout win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

This is now the fifth consecutive Flyers game that has been decided by a single goal, the third that needed a shootout to determine a winner and the second time in as many games that the final score was 2-1.

Did somebody say playoffs?

It’s become increasingly more apparent that the games are getting tighter and the points are becoming more valuable.

While it’s up to interpretation as to why the games have become more defensively focused, the one thing that is indisputable is that the normally offensive Flyers are easily adapting to the new style of play.

This is being proven in the wins column.

Since the start of March (around the time that the games have been tighter), the team is 9-2-1.

Ilya Bryzgalov has by-and-far been the team’s best player and the seemingly soft goals that found the back of the net earlier in the year have all but vanished.

That is until Thursday night.

During Washington’s first offensive drive of the game, Bryzgalov attempted a poke check that deflected the puck to Alexander Ovechkin right in front of the net.

He quickly took advantage of the opportunity and gave the Capitals an early lead only 26 seconds into the game.

The Flyers have now allowed the opposing team to score the first goal of the game in 15 of the last 20 contests.

In the past, this kind of occurrence potentially could have crippled the team.

Now, it’s viewed as a minor slip-up.

Over the past few weeks, the Flyers have demonstrated that they play complete games. While, the first period was a sloppy affair with little cohesion, the team remained in the contest.

In the second, the Flyers responded with the aide of their superstar.

After some close chances by Washington, Claude Giroux evened the game at one with a beautiful breakaway goal that left Capitals goaltender, Braden Holtby reeling after a failed poke-check.

Following a scoreless third and overtime period, the two teams went to the shootout.

After trading goals in the opening round, Wayne Simmonds put the Flyers ahead in the fourth round.

Following Bryzgalov’s save against the Capitals final shooter, Troy Brouwer, the Flyers earned their 94th point of the season.

The team now trails the Pittsburgh Penguins by four points and the division leading New York Rangers by five (both teams have a game in hand over the Flyers).

Thursday night once again displayed that the Flyers are willing to play a complete 60-minute game.

Even though there were times that they were being outplayed or looked out of sorts, the team managed to play as a group to keep the Capitals at bay.

A lot of that has to do with Bryzgalov.

Without his stellar play in the first, the Flyers easily could have gone into the second in a monumental hole. From there his consistent play continued and the team rallied.

Giroux stepped up, tied the game using his elite skill and registered his fifth point in as many games.

Some nights, the Flyers will need their superstars to shine brightest. On Thursday, they did just that.

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