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Capitals vs. Flyers Recap: Caps Crush Orange, Drop Flyers 2-0

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The Washington Capitals opened their 2016 Stanley Cup playoff campaign with a literal bang, dropping the Flyers 2-0 in a bruising battle.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Who doesn't love a little bit of rough stuff? The 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs kicked off in Washington, as the Capitals downed the Flyers 2-0 behind goals from John Carlson and Jay Beagle and a shutout from the ol' Holtbeast.

Here's Thursday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Braden Holtby is a stone-cold brick mason, recording 19 saves and laying down a shutout in Game 1. Hear hear, Holtby!
  • Minus: There were so, so many penalties in this game. The two teams split 10 whistles between them, and the Caps played the most dangerous game early on, taking three in quick succession.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

  • This one started off brutal and physical; would you expect anything else? No scoring in the first period, but a massive, cold compress-requiring 27 hits were doled out by the two teams in the first twenty minutes.
  • Speaking of things that go bump on the ice, the Capitals started the game with three straight penalties in the first period. Brooks Orpik took two hitting-related penalties (To-the-Head, and Interference) while John Carlson took a hooking minor. The league's second-best penalty kill managed to snuff each of them out like illicit films, and the game remained agonizingly tied and scoreless after one period.
  • The second period went off with a bang, literally. Alex Ovechkin introduced Sean Couturier to his little friend (hint: it's pain) along the boards, and Couturier left the game with an apparent left arm injury. He did not return, and Flyers fans across the internet wailed the lamentations of the damned.
  • Then, because a ping is sort of like a bang before it hits puberty, the captain Alex Ovechkin rang a beauty off the post to give the entire Verizon Center faithful a collective cardiac incident.
  • The Capitals power play would get a solid several chances but go scoreless for a bit, until Real American Hero John Carlson taught everyone a lesson in Trickle-In Economics, blasting one that hit some traffic and rolled in past Steve Mason. They all count equally, and Verizon lost its mind like so many fervent zealots.
  • In between periods, I encountered healthy scratches Mike Weber and Michael Latta joking around in the bathroom. Please keep your fanfic to a minimum.
  • Finally, in the third period, the dam of testosterone and pent-up latent aggression burst forth in a glorious display of knuckles and cusses. Tom Wilson and Wayne Simmonds threw hands with six minutes left in the third period, with Simmonds connecting more than Wilson. Both players were sent off with with a minor-major combo (fighting, and roughing and boarding, respectively). I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a Caps fan who wouldn't take a Wilson for Simmonds double banishment, so I guess you could call it a net gain.
  • Then, Jay Beagle would do that dirty dirty dirt that we love to see him do, ripping home a true sniper's wrister from the slot and putting the Caps two full noses ahead of the Flyers, 2-0. By the way, peep the stick check from Marcus Johansson that led to the break. Juicy, n'est-ce pas?
  • Tonight's first star was announced in the arena as Braden Holtby, who recorded 19 saves and a shutout against the Flyers. Not a bad start to the playoffs, my good gentledude.
  • A 1-0 hill is always better than a 1-0 hole. Remember that, family.

This postseason is off to its scripted start, and if Sean Couturier is out for a while, things could only get tougher for Philadelphia from here. Game 2 is Saturday night at Verizon. Rock the red, and go Caps!

Game highlights: