Woo that was fun. The Washington Capitals came to Philly last night for the first meeting since the playoffs last year but the tempers didn't flare too much in this one. What started off as a pretty slow game really picked up at the end of the first and carried over into the rest of the game. Andre Burakovsky hadn't scored in 26 games for the Caps so of course he scored the first goal of the night on a snipe from down low. Michael Waffle Raffl tied it up with a saucy wraparound early in the second but that was wiped away by a trash goal from the Caps six minutes later. Then with 21 seconds left in the second, a weird bounce off the boards left the puck right on Giroux's stick during an odd 4-on-4 and he sniped the top right corner over Holtby's glove to knot it up at 2 where the score would stay throughout the third and OT. The Flyers were able to kill off a late Radko Gudas hooking penalty that lasted 11 seconds into the extra period, depriving us of 2 and a half minutes of 3 on 3 OT. Stevie Mason played out of his mind for 65 minutes and then ultimately the shootout against one of the more dangerous teams in the leagues in that department.
After Shayne Gostibehere (why the fuck was he our first shooter) and Claude Giroux were stoned by Holtby and TJ Oshie was able to hypnotize Mason to sleep as he sniped a goal blocker side in the shootout (to the surprise of no one), the game rested on Voracek's stick and he took a page out of Oshie's Olympic handbook and ripped a wrister past Holtby to extend the shootout. Mason held his end of the bargain and stopped the 3rd Caps attempt which set up Wayne Simmonds for this:
Steve Mason followed Simmer's lead and shut down Justin Williams (shout out to my neighbor.. for real he has a house down the street from me I've seen the Cup at his house and its NUTS) and the Flyers escaped Wednesday Night Rivalry with 2 points. Let's break it down.
Steve Money Ma$on
Mason has really been stepping it up lately with Neuvirth sidelined and Hakstol giving him the reigns. It's tough to pick which of his 36 saves were the best but he made a ridiculous save late in OT on Niskanen that saw him sprawling across the crease with his stick on the ice to poke it away. Mason earned those 2 points for the Fly Guys and deserves a cold beer or 12 after that gritty performance.
Ivan Provorov is the truth, man. The kids 19 and is able to skate around these shmuck adults with ease. Provorov was the one streaking down the left side in the 2nd period who got the first outlet pass to rip a shot on net which caused the weird breakout attempt which resulted in the puck bouncing right to Giroux in the slot for the tying goal. The only thing about Provorov which may be causing a problem is that he's stealing Ghost's thunder. I treat Provy this year like I treated Ghost last year. Young defenseman who can handle the puck, skate well, score, and get the gritty things done too. Sign me up, I'll take 6 of em. But Ghost hasn't been putting up numbers this year and it's obvious that he's down on himself. He had a wide open shot in the 3rd and instead tried to pass it to Giroux who had it tipped away. Ghost isn't playing with a lot of confidence and that needs to change if he's gonna start producing because we need that man to get on the board. I hope Hakstol benching him doesn't ruin him like Coach Bean benching me ruined my high school baseball career because it caused me to be in my own head trying to do too much (I'll NEVER forgive that man).
Gudas and Provorov were the pairing who faced the Ovechkin line the most last night and held him without a shot until late in the 3rd period. My dad actually said to me during the Gudas penalty kill "Is Ovechkin playing tonight?" to which I responded "way to go now he's gonna score the game winner" but alas I was wrong. I love Gudas and Provy together because Provorov is able to get down and put on offensive pressure while Gudas wants absolutely nothing to do with that. Speaking of pressure let's give Michael Del Zotto a quick shoutout. When the Flyers had to play 4 on 4 in OT my dad was questioning why we were playing 2 forwards and 2 defensemen instead of 3 forwards and one defensemen and I said it's becuase we have guys like Del Zotto and Provy and Ghost who can score like a forward but can get back to defend so we don't have to worry about Voracek sitting at the point and getting burnt by Ovie and Oshie going the other way.
Great job bouncing back from two straight L's and getting the two points against the Caps who are right behind us in the Metro. Hakstol today:
Let's start a new streak baby!
P.S. When did the Blue Jackets get good and decide to go streaking on their own? Screw them. 44 points and we're 4th in the Metro while San Jose leads the Pacific with 41 points? Boooo.. BTW I found this cool video of highlights from last night so uhh here you go:
P.P.S Flyers head to New Jersey to play the Devils tonight so you know what that means?? BAD NEWS FOR THE DEVILS (IDK why I just felt like I had to throw in another old baseball movie reference).