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The Washington Capitals did what many thought maybe they couldn't, closing out the Philadelphia Flyers in 6 games and moving on to face the hated Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round.
Here's Sunday's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Oh, I don't know, maybe...MOVING ON TO THE NEXT ROUND??
- Minus: A skilled and talented player who was good for hockey, Claude Giroux, is now retired. Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya, Claude.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
- The game started off in an ulser-inducing, stress-eating type of way. Michal Neuvirth, once more like that rich kid at the playground, came to play for keeps. He recorded 12 saves in the first period alone, and had Caps fans sweating bullets and exorcising their Jaroslav Halak effigies.
- The second period began with the Capitals on a 5-on-3 powerplay, but it would wither and go fruitless, like a cursed fig tree or a bookie from Philadelphia. Much teeth-gnashing occured, and many good Caps fans decided it was early enough to switch to beer.
- The Caps' 5-on-3 advantage would horrifyingly flip to a 5-on-3 penalty kill. Ahem..."Dubious" penalty calls like a phantom hook and a far more egregious high-sticking double minor on Nicklas Backstrom sent Caps fans into the righteous tizzy of a whirling dervish or a someone who just can't even. Look at Backstrom's penalty. Notice something fishy about that stick? In that, it isn't his?
- BUT THEN, LIKE A RIGHTEOUS THUNDERBOLT OUT OF THE SKY, Nick Backstrom came out of the box and said "I'LL SHOW YOU HIGH-STICKING," beating a moving, sprawling, suddenly mortal Michal Neuvrith high over the glove side. A strong, intelligent, Alicia Keys-type play to enter the zone by Alex Ovechkin set up the pass from Marcus Johansson.
- Several minutes later in the second period, known jerk and unconfirmed carpetbagger Brayden Schenn hurt himself and T.J. Oshie on a narrowly-missed flying headshot. Oshie would head to the locker room, but would return in the third period like the bitter herb he is. T.J Koshie.
- The Caps spent the majority of the final period on a de facto penalty kill of sorts, content to toss it over the heads of Flyers forwards and out of the zone. Hey, what the hell do you know: it would work! THE CAPITALS DEFEATED THE FLYERS 1-0!
- Special teams were the difference this series. Though the power play would go 0-for-5 in Game 6, the penalty kill went 23-for-24 over the series, and was the deity to whom you should direct your unending praise and exhaltation.
- The Flyers' top line was non-existent over the series, with (now retired) Claude Giroux only recording one point, and the regular season leading goal-scorer Wayne Simmonds logging a big fat goose egg. Think Wayne was miffed?
- Not to be lost in the hooplah is the fact that Braden Holtby played like a Vezina winner the whole series. He allowed just 5 goals in 6 games, and recorded 26 saves and his fourth career playoff shutout in Game 6. Talk about earning a new contract; cotdamn, Braden.
- ON TO THE NEXT ONE, ON TO THE NEXT ONE.
Oshie slowly went to the tunnel after this hit from Schenn pic.twitter.com/lsDJ71k1Zf— Danny (@recordsANDradio) April 24, 2016
Breathe in, breathe out, look up: the Capitals have closed out the Flyers and move on to the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. Next up is the Pittsburgh Penguins in what many are calling the de facto Eastern Conference finals matchup. Bring 'em on, and let's go Caps.