The Flyers come to downtown D.C. today having won four of its last five games, with their only loss in that span coming as a 4-0 shutout on Thursday against the team the Capitals defeated handily the night after to the tune of 6-1, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Today’s matchup will mark the fourth and final contest between these two teams during the regular season. In the previous three contest, the Capitals have scored 17 points, which was padded due to an 8-2 Capitals victory in Wachovia Center on Dec. 5th.
The Caps have won 10 out of the last 15 contest against the Flyers since the 2006-2007 season began.
1st Period Overview:
Despite thousands of empty seats, presumably due to the NFL’s Divisional playoff games, the energy filling the Verizon Center matches that of a full house.
The period can be summed up as a chess match for both teams, with each team going tit-for-tat with two goals apiece. The Flyers struck first with a Jeff Carter goal but the Capitals retaliated with a quick goal from former Flyer Mike Knuble. The chess match continued when Flyers left winger James Van Riemsdyk put the Flyers up 2-1. That lead didn’t last long when Brooks Laich scored his 12th goal of the season and evened the contest out at 2-2 with 6:32 left in the opening period.
It has been a very entertaining matchup so far in a game featuring two local rivals. Considering the fans of both teams feeding off of each other’s energy, it only looks to become more enticing as the day goes on.
Goals: PHI – 2 WAS – 2
Shots: PHI – 9 WAS – 8
Blocked Shots: PHI – 9 WAS – 6
Faceoffs Won: PHI – 10 – WAS – 11
2nd Period Overview:
Defense was the name of the game in the second period, with the only score coming seven minutes in.
Both the Capitals and the Flyers had just returned their fifth men on the ice following a 4-on-4 stretch with Washington’s Tyler Sloan and Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell in their respective penalty boxes when Jeff Carter gave the Caps a 5-on-4 advantage by holding Sloan shortly after he left the box. Just seven seconds after Carter’s penalty, Alexander Semin gave the Caps a 3-2 lead with his 20th goal on the year.
The Capitals tightened up their defense, helping keep traffic away from Jose Theodore when he wasn’t making clutch saves. Washington was able to clear the puck at the right times and also increased their physicality, making their presence known to the Flyers on their own as opposed to just responding to the hits that Philadelphia was giving them.
Goals: PHI – 0 WAS – 1
Shots: PHI – 12 WAS – 9
Blocked Shots: PHI – 6 WAS – 6
Faceoffs Won: PHI – 10 – WAS – 13
3rd Period Overview (most of it):
Brooks Laich scored his second goal of the night on a beautiful backhanded shot to give the Caps a 4-2 lead 4:56 into the final period, giving the team much-needed momentum to close out the Flyers.
The score remains 4-2 with five minutes remaining.