Yes folks, you’ve read the above headline correctly; the Flyers have, at long last, won a shootout again as they best the Capitals 2-1 on Wednesday night in front of raucous Wells Fargo Center crowd. With this latest win, the Flyers will leapfrog the idle Boston Bruins for the time being and pull into the 7th in the Eastern Conference. In addition to this, Philadelphia is now just 2 points behind the 6th seeded New York Islanders and has put massive pressure on the Detroit Red Wings in the process. Any way you slice it, tonight was a huge step forward for the orange and black in their Cinderella march towards the playoffs.The Flyers received 1 regulation goal from Brayden Schenn (25th) and 2 shootout beauties from Nick Cousins and Sam Gagner in the win. Every intangible one would want in a playoff game were on display tonight. A boisterous crowd and two old time rivals that are none too kind to one another gave the game a playoff-esque atmosphere. This game also was a rough one as 64 hits were doled out total for the contest with lots of verbal jousting and extra-curricular activity after whistles. Overall, I felt the officiating was fair as the referees seemed content with letting the teams play and that’s how it should be this time of year.
Winning goaltender Steve Mason again was strong between the pipes stopping 29 of 30 pucks fired his way. The real show from Mason came by way of the shootout where he went 2 for 2, which included a dazzling glove save on the extremely talented Evgeny Kuznetsov. Mason did look a little fatigued early in the game as his usual sure-handed rebound control seemed a bit off but all in all, the Flyers played an excellent game in front of him and were working to make sure their goaltender had a clear line of vision to track the puck.
Here is your game notable:
If tonight was any indication, a potential Flyers-Capitals first round playoff series could be a really intriguing matchup. I think many people would believe that Philadelphia would be playing with house money in that scenario as just a month ago a portion of the fan base was looking more towards the draft than they were a potential playoff berth. For the Capitals, the pressure and expectation would rest squarely on their shoulders, but with a continuous shuffling of the final four spots in the Eastern Conference playoff race, Washington could realistically face any one of the Islanders, Flyers, Bruins, or Red Wings in round 1. It’s really a-luck-of-the-draw kind of situation at this point in the season and the Caps would need to be ready to face all comers after their President Trophy winning campaign.