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The Narrative: Cooter, Discipline and Shot Suppression

Three things we're talking about today when we're talking about the Caps

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1. The Flyers were dealt a huge blow when a fairly innocuous Game 1 bump from Alex Ovechkin has reportedly shelved Sean Couturier for the rest of the series:

That's obviously a tough break for Philly, as Couturier had really emerged in 2015-16 as a solid two-way center and key penalty killer (perhaps not coincidentally, the Caps' game-winner last night came on a power-play for which "Cooter" was unavailable). Guess we were dead wrong when we wrote "[t]he best, and perhaps most difficult way, to minimize Couturier's defensive impact is to simply keep Ovevchkin away from him as much as possible."

2. The Caps sent the Flyers to the power play three times in the game's first 15 minutes and once more before the game was half-way done. But tremendous penalty killing from the net on out kept the game scoreless until the Caps' seemingly re-energized extra-man unit tallied late in the second with Brandon Manning in the sin bin for delay of game.

And just when it looked as if a Tom Wilson hit along the end boards was going to put Philly a man to the good with seven minutes left and a chance to tie the game, Wayne Simmonds lost his cool, dropped the mitts with Willy and evened out the manpower situation:

That's a Caps fourth-liner taking the Flyers' top goal-scorer off the ice for the last seven minutes of the game, a trade Washington will take every time. And, not for nothing, Wilson was on the ice for four - count 'em, four - other Flyers minors as well... in less than seven-and-a-half minutes of even-strength ice time.

Apparently Tom Wilson makes enough money to rent space in the collective heads of the Islanders and Flyers. But you knew that.

3. Braden Holtby was terrific in victory (as was Steve Mason in defeat), but the Caps only allowed eight shots on goal over last two periods. In fact, if you throw out the Claude Giroux 40-footer with two seconds left and his 80-footer late in the first, the Caps allowed seven shots on goal over the game's final 41:54. That's how you get a shot chart that looks like this (via Natural Stat Trick):

It's tough to win games that way, and could be a sign of real trouble for the Flyers.