Photo is by Rob Carr/Getty Images
The Philadelphia Flyers will skate home being down 2-0 in their first round playoff series with the Washington Capitals as they lose game 2 at Verizon Center, 4-1. After pelting Brayden Holtby with 41 shots, the Flyers had opportunities to equalize the series but a special teams’ battle thwarted their efforts once again. The uphill climb against a strong opponent just became that much steeper for Philadelphia as they return home for games’ they need to win in order to have a prayer the rest of the way.
The Flyers did manage to solve Holtby in this one as Jake Voracek scored the club’s lone goal of the contest. Philadelphia had stretches of play where they had looked good and dictated tempo but failed special teams continue to play a role in this series for them. The Penalty Kill far too often have been caught running around in this series and despite a struggle in game 1, the powerplay had numerous good looks at the net but continue to be stopped at the net by Holtby. Overall, the Flyers have had good compete level over the first 2 games, but costly mistakes and failed execution have been at the crux of their play.
Losing goaltender Steve Mason was his usually solid self at times during the game, but his night will be remembered for perhaps the softest goal given up by a goaltender in some time. Mason was beat cleanly by a dump-in by Capitals’ forward Jason Chimera from center ice which is about 100-feet out; in an attempt to kick the puck to the corner, Mason should have instead opted to make the easy play and had the paddle down on the ice to stop the puck. The goaltender just whiffled on it and the disc beat him through the wickets for Washington’s 2nd goal.
After the game, Mason took the blunder on the chin and took ownership for his mistake. It’s being widely circulated this morning that Mason let in the “softest goal in playoff history” and while the goal looks awful, it has happened to some of the game’s best goaltenders in the past as well. I know that this doesn’t fit into mainstream outlet’s lazy narrative to say that the Flyers still have goaltending issues, but I once recall the legendary Marty Broduer doing something quite similar in the Stanley Cup final in 2003. Again, it happens to the best of us and is a part of the human element of sport. Mason will be ready to go in game 3.
Here is your game notable:
The Flyers had 19 shots on goal in the first period, equaling their total from Game 1 and if there is anything the team needs to continue, it’s this. The Flyers should not become discouraged over the last 2 games and need to continue to shoot the puck. When a goaltender stands on his head like Holtby has, it’s common to see teams grip their sticks a little too tight and try to be perfect. Coach Dave Hakstol needs to stay on his team and have them continue to come out strong to start games as the Capitals have proven that they can struggle in first periods. Getting on the board first period would go a long way in game 3.