Flyers play well, but lose to Capitals in lost weekend

The Philadelphia Flyers brought the best they could against the league-leading Washington Capitals but it was not to be as they lose 3-2 on Super Bowl Sunday. Given the circumstance, I thought Philadelphia played well and if they can bring that intensity into the next stretch of games, they should win enough to keep themselves afloat in the playoff chase. Losing two straight is not an easy pill to swallow for the orange and black in the midst of this playoff chase, but there are too many games left to let these losses snowball into something larger.
The Flyers received goals from Michael Del Zotto (4th) and Nick Schultz (1st) in the losing cause. The Flyers didn’t make many glaring mistakes in this one but the ones they did make ended up in the back of their net. Overall, the Flyers had some A+ looks at the net but Caps’ goaltender Brayden Holtby was the equalizer.
The game winning goal from Matt Niskanen was ultimately the backbreaker; the Capitals defensemen went coast to coast on the play and poor communication between the Flyers defensemen and forwards allowed the player to skate directly through the middle of the ice. It was Niskanen’s third goal of the season. Overall, the Flyers had some A+ looks at the net but Caps’ goaltender Brayden Holtby was the equalizer in this one.
Losing goaltender Steve Mason deserved a much better fate today as he turned away 27 of 30 shots. Mason was one of the Flyers best players all weekend really as he gave the Flyers an opportunity to win both games this weekend. It was the team in front of him that couldn’t close out the Rangers in the waning seconds of yesterday’s contest and it was the team in front of him that allowed Mattt Niskanen took walk into their zone virtually unscathed for a coast to coast goal today.

Here are your game notes:

Once again, I liked the general makeup of the lines this afternoon and thought Nick Cousins and Scott Laughton had good games. Both rookies saw a slight uptick in ice time which probably had to do with the fact that the team was playing their fourth game in six days but they played well in more allotted time. Cousins picked up his first NHL point with an assist on Del Zotto’s goal as well.
The Flyers third line of VandeVelde, White and Bellemare played well this afternoon and typically was able to sustain fore-checking pressure. All three players are being miscast as third liners on a Flyers team that generally lacks depth but they did a nice job today. It needs to continue if the Flyers are to overcome the loss of Couturier’s presence in the coming weeks.

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