The first round of the post-season won’t see any series end before Game 5, and the Philadelphia Flyers made sure of that Wednesday with a crucial 2-1 win to avoid elimination and stave off the sweep.
The Flyers again clicked early, and in many ways Philadelphia’s Game 4 victory was what one would have expected from Dave Hakstol’s team in Game 3 when the Flyers returned to the Wells Fargo Center for their first game since the passing of owner Ed Snider. Less than six minutes into the game, rookie sensation Shayne Gostisbehere got on the board with a blast from the blueline on the power play to put Philadelphia ahead, but it was a goal from an unexpected source that gave the Flyers their first win of the series.
Defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who was buried in the AHL earlier in the season, absolutely hammered a pass from Wayne Simmonds to put the Flyers up 2-0. MacDonald’s second career playoff goal marked the first time all series Philadelphia scored twice in a single game. Read more
No matter the final score of Game 4 between the Flyers and Capitals, the hope for both teams will be that Philadelphia winger Scott Laughton is OK after a scary and violent collision with the boards behind the Washington net.
In the opening frame Wednesday night, Laughton, 21, was charging into the Capitals’ zone and attempting to get to the edge on Washington’s John Carlson when the defenseman closed the gap and gave Laughton a shove. The hit itself wasn’t overly aggressive but the end result left Laughton down on the ice and barely moving. Read more
Philadelphia Flyers center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare served 27 penalty minutes over the course of 74 games during the regular season, but it took him a split second to rack up more than half of that total in Game 3 against the Washington Capitals and earn himself a one-game suspension.
Bellemare picked up 15 minutes in penalties Monday when, in a game that had already gotten out of hand, he drove Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov headfirst into the boards behind the Washington net.
As the two approached the corner, Orlov appeared to slow up in order to control the play and initiate contact with Bellemare, but the Flyers pivot was not impeded at all, instead violently checking Orlov into the boards. Bellemare seemed concerned for Orlov, but the Capitals defenseman remained down on the ice for the duration of a scrum between the two teams before skating off under his own power. For his effort, Bellemare was sent to the showers: Read more
Flyers fans (#notallFlyersfans) like to fancy themselves as an intimidating bunch. When your team identity was founded on the brawn and menace of the Broad Street Bullies, it only makes sense – especially in a town known for passionate fans of all local sports. But what may have worked in the 1970s doesn’t work as well today and once again Philadelphia fans found themselves at the center of a bad behavior controversy last night.
The Capitals came into the post-season with the league’s best power play, and it was with the man advantage that Washington inched that much closer to punching their ticket to the second round of the playoffs.
Though the 6-1 final score makes it appear as though the Capitals ran roughshod all over the Flyers, it was anyone’s game through 40 minutes. It took only 57 seconds after puck drop — which was preceded by a tribute to late Flyers owner Ed Snider — for Philadelphia to get on the board, but Washington equalized not long after on the power play. However, were it not for Alex Ovechkin slipping behind the Flyers defense and snapping home a wrist shot midway through the second, the two teams may have gone to the dressing room knotted at one apiece after two periods.
But even though Philadelphia was only one shot away from tying the contest, hope dwindled early in the third period when a crazy bounce led to an Evgeny Kuznetsov power play goal. Kuznetsov’s tally gave Washington a 3-1 lead, and it was all downhill for the Flyers from there. Read more
Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik missed half the regular season with a lower-body injury this season, and it appears an injury could cost him at least part of the first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
In the second period of Game 3, Orpik was attempting to clear the puck out of the defensive zone while the Capitals were killing a penalty when he was hit hard by Flyers winger Ryan White. Following the hit, Orpik fell to his knees and remained down on the ice. Orpik was unable to get to his feet, and was eventually helped off the ice by John Carlson and a member of the Capitals’ training staff. And though he made it off the ice, the look on Orpik’s face and his lack of responsiveness was incredibly frightening: Read more
Regardless of the score of the Flyers’ first-round series heading back to the Philadelphia for Game 3, everyone knew the evening would be an emotional one as Monday marked the first home contest for the Flyers since the passing of owner Ed Snider.
Snider, who passed away on April 11 at 83 after losing his battle with cancer, had owned the Flyers since the franchise was awarded in 1967. Snider was a fixture with the team and was well-regarded by those around the franchise, as well as being an important part of the league’s board of governors, where he was part of the executive committee.
Since Snider’s passing, teams throughout the league had paid tribute to the longtime Flyers owner, and Philadelphia got their chance to say goodbye ahead of Game 3. Watch the Flyers’ touching video montage from the pre-game ceremony: Read more
Sadly, we cannot ask Pat Quinn what he thinks of the NHL’s implementation of a coach’s challenge for offside calls. As it was with almost any subject from World War II strategy to the neutral zone trap, it would have been very interesting to hear the former coaching great’s perspective on it.
Your trusty correspondent has been covering this game for almost 30 years and they have never seen a coach who had a deeper disdain for officials than Quinn did. And the roots of that go back to May 24, 1980. And if you want to talk about how one of these overturned calls can change a game or a series, consider the fact that not one, but two were not overturned that day had an enormous impact on a series, a career and a legacy.