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Well, it will take more than four games to decide the first round of the playoffs. Goals from Shayne "Haunted Stay-Puft Marshmallow Poltergeist" Gostisbehere and Andrew MacDonald would be enough to withstand a furious Capitals comeback and force a Game 5 in Washington.
Here's Wednesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Don't call it a comeback; because it didn't quite work. The Capitals nearly rallied from a 2-0 deficit, and while you'd rather not require emergency maneuevers, you like to see the fight.
- Minus: I rented all these brooms and there's no way I'm getting my deposit back from Lowe's.
And now, this...
Gretzky gets shut down by his wife pic.twitter.com/Qn570AGiPw— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) April 21, 2016
Ten more notes on the game:
- Well, a drowning ship o' sailors ain't expected to go down without a fight, and Philadelphia came out in the first period swashbucklin'. Birthday boy Shayne Gostisbehere unwrapped Philadelphia's first power play goal of the playoffs, firing off a slap shot that found the target and giving Philly a 1-0 lead.
- Barry Trotz challenged the goal like your ex-boyfriend who yells "I object!" when the minister tells everyone to hold their peace, alleging that lanky wunderkind Wayne Simmonds interfered with Braden Holtby by bumping his head like a dope beat.
- At the end of the first period, Flyers center Scott Laughton got tangled up with John Carlson and took a terrible spill into the back boards. He would be removed from the ice on a stretcher, and we wish nothing but good things and a quick recovery to Scott. Prayers and good thoughts up, everybody.
- The second period would begin with Anonymous Flyer #47 Andrew MacDonald firing an unassisted slapshot past Braden Holtby, denting the back of the net like a rogue shopping cart and giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead.
- The Capitals went into the final period losing, but so did the dinosaurs and things worked out okay for them, right?
- The final frame got off to what consultants call a "maximally optimized" start, as bona fide American hero T.J. Oshie slammed home a rebound to make it 2-1 Flyers with 16 minutes to play.
- That would be it for the scoring despite a valiant comeback effort from the Capitals in the third, storming the castle like so many tardy Lancelots. The Flyers enjoyed a 2-1 victory to avoid the sweep, and the series is coming back to Washington for a Game 5.
- The Czech whale in the room is Michal Neuvirth, who replaced embarassed newborn foal Steve Mason in net for the Flyers and was generally effective for Philadelphia. Groovy Neuvy saved 31-of-32 shots for a .969 save percentage (the EXACT same stat line as Braden Holtby in Game 3, FYI), and prolonged the process for at least one game.
- While the Flyers certainly jumped out to a more zealous, energetic start, the Capitals' loss was not for lack of shots. Washington fired 32 shells at net, and that cotdarn goalie turned away 31 of them. That's okay, though; pucks on net = good things, n'est-ce pas? N'EST-CE PAS??
- Perhaps the difference tonight was the special teams, which were decidedly pedestrian. The Capitals' power play went a noticeably earthbound 0-for-2, and the penalty kill conceded its first acupuncture of the playoffs, posting a 1-for-2 mark.
Apparently not a penalty pic.twitter.com/7EgxdsuCmg— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) April 20, 2016
Okay, so the Caps didn't sweep. As the tired proverb goes, it's hard to beat a team four times. That's fine; let's snuff out this pilot light in 5 in Washington. Hang tough, and Go Caps.