Alright, boys and girls and babes, time for the first Washington Capitals game post-trade deadline. Exit: Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik. Enter: Anthony Mantha. Well, Mantha and Michael Raffl, but Raffl was unavailable tonight due to undisclosed injury issues. The revamped Caps’ lines against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight looked a little something like this:
Capitals lines vs Flyers:— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) April 13, 2021
Vitek Vanecek may have the hotter hand right now, but Ilya Samsonov is 3-0 against the Flyers this season so it was all Sammy in net tonight. Brian Elliott was in net across the ice for the Flyers, with Carter Hart sitting backup. Which goalie would help lead their team to victory? Let’s find out.
Here’s Tuesday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: Anthony Mantha. That’s it, that’s the tweet.
Minus: Ilya Samsonov sometimes does this thing where he looks confident and solid in net for 95% of a game, and the other 5% is him letting in an absolute stinker or two. Tonight was one of those nights.
And now, do we think Mantha got in on the pregame shenanigans right away or did he just sit back and watch...whatever this is?
Ten more notes on the game:
1. Conor Sheary got the Capitals on the board first tonight with a beauty of a sharp angle shot 7:07 into the first. Brian Elliott looked like a fish out of water on the play, and the Flyers’ defense was...well, it wasn’t pretty. This is Sheary’s 11th goal of the season and his third goal in his last four periods of play.
Sheary stays with a hot stick! pic.twitter.com/li6TUVRmd1— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 13, 2021
2. Seconds after Ilya Samsonov made a killer pad save to deny Scott Laughton, Sean Couturier just got his stick on a James van Riemsdyk shot to deflect it past Sammy. This was a rough one for Samsonov, who was all over the place on the play. 1-1, tie game.
3. 9:57 into the first, Shane Gostisbehere took an elbowing penalty on Alex Ovechkin, so the Capitals’ power play got to work for the first time tonight and Tom Wilson did not let the opportunity go to waste. Conor Sheary managed to corral a bouncing puck and slide it over to Wilson, who did not miss with a shot between Elliott’s body and blocker. This is Wilson’s fourth PPG of the season, one shy of his total from last season. Sheary might have recorded the primary assist on the tally but, more importantly, Anthony Mantha had the secondary helper! Ant Man point! Fun fact, his first point as a Capital is also his 100th career assist — congrats, Mantha!
4. With 4:14 remaining in the first period, Nicolas Aube-Kubel was called for interference on Conor Sheary. Caps fans were treated to a reverse of the usual power play move when Alex Ovechkin passed the puck across the slot to a waiting Nicklas Backstrom, who is playing in his 999th career NHL game tonight. Backstrom took just enough time to set up a high-powered shot without giving Elliott enough time to get to the other side of the paint and scored his 14th goal of the season.
Nicky...still a scoring machine pic.twitter.com/XJIWRax79D— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 13, 2021
5. 1:56 later, Carl Hagelin piled on a fourth first period goal off a great slot pass from John Carlson. Brian Elliott, who at this point looked pretty miserable out there, and the rest of the Flyers seemed to think that Garnet Hathaway was too close to the Philly netminder on the play, but there was no review and the goal stayed on the board. With two first period assists, Carlson hit the 400 assist mark in his 800th game! Double congrats, Carly!
*Carl has entered the chat* pic.twitter.com/RxzRNaM4iw— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 13, 2021
6. 6:26 into the second period, Nic Dowd took Washington’s first trip to the box for cross-checking Jakub Voracek. Coming into tonight, the Caps’ PK had killed of 19 of their last 21 penalties. Despite losing one of their top penalty killers to the sin bin, the Washington penalty kill and Ilya Samsonov held off the Flyers’ power play just fine.
7. ANTHONY MANTHA GOAL. That’s right, the new guy wasn’t satisfied with a measly assist in his first game as a Capital so he decided to get in on the goal-scoring fun too, and what a goal it was. Mantha’s new linemates Oshie and Backstrom helped him out, with Backstrom bringing the puck into the zone and passing it to Oshie, who made a beautiful drop pass to Mantha. Mantha took the smallest of stutter steps in the slot to freeze Elliott and fired an absolute bullet to the back of the net. Welcome to DC, Ant Man. Oh, and make sure you catch the radio call on this one from John Walton, too.
There were two milestones of note on this goal. One, Anthony Mantha is now the 20th Capital to record at least one multi-point game this season. Two, Backstrom recorded his 714th career assist on the tally, passing Daniel Alfredsson for fourth-most assists by a Swedish born player in NHL history.
8. Robert Hagg was called for slashing on Hathaway 3:27 into the third, sending the Capitals on their third power play of the night. Wait, what was that? Bah gawd, that’s Alex Ovechkin’s music! Yes, you read that right, Alex Ovechkin has finally broken his...one-game goal drought with just 17 seconds remaining on the man-advantage. The marker came off a sweet cross-ice pass from Tom Wilson, and Ovi had all the time and space in the world to wind up for, you guessed it, a blistering shot past Elliott. Conor Sheary recorded the secondary helper, giving him three points on the night.
9. Not to be outdone by his podcast buddy, Garnet Hathaway also decided to take a trip to the Capital One Arena’s penalty box tonight. He was caught tripping Claude Giroux 6:25 into the third, putting the Capitals’ PK to the test for the second time in the game. Fortunately for Hathaway, the penalty kill remained stellar and once again held off the Flyers’ power play. 6-1 Capitals with 11:35 to go, and that’s all she wrote.
10. It would be a shame if we didn’t show you this sweet move from Mantha towards the end of the game, where he almost scored his second goal of the night.
Up next for the Capitals: the last game against the Buffalo Sabres of the season at Capital One Arena this Thursday, 7pm.