Capitals get the bounces, Holtby slams door in Game 1 victory over Flyers

Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

If the Philadelphia Flyers have any hope of beating the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals in the first-round series, they will need to take advantage of the opportunities they are given. They didn’t in Game 1.

The Flyers had three first-period power plays and not only didn’t capitalize, but didn’t even get a shot on goal with the man advantages en route to a 2-0 Capitals victory. The Flyers were 0-for-4 on the power play, and while the Caps weren’t much better at 1-for-6, they got the lucky bounce they needed and it turned into the game winner.

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Update: Flyers’ Couturier knocked out of series after big hit by Capitals’ Ovechkin

Sean Couturier (via NHL/Streamable)

Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin didn’t make an impact on the score sheet in Game 1 against the Philadelphia Flyers, but his physical play may have helped shift the series further in Washington’s favor.

Ovechkin’s big hit came midway through the second period when he was chasing Sean Couturier through the neutral zone. As Couturier laid a puck back into the middle of the ice that was intended for Brayden Schenn, Ovechkin caught up to the Flyers center and shoved him into the boards. The hit resulted in Couturier crashing into the boards shoulder first, and it was immediately evident Couturier was in pain. He remained on the ice for a few seconds, but was nursing his left shoulder. Read more

It might be a good idea for Eugene Melnyk to, you know, shut up a little bit

Eugene Melnyk (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Before the Boston Bruins announced Thursday that Claude Julien will be coming back next season – he might want to freshen up that resume though, you know, just in case – it was assumed that it were let go that he’d instantly head to the top of the list of candidates to coach the Ottawa Senators.

Julien is one of the best, if not the best, coach in hockey today. What’s to say that a bench boss of that ilk would even want to coach the Senators? First, you’re working for a loose cannon. Second, you’re working for a loose cannon that owns a budget team. It’s one thing to be wildly eccentric and rich, a la George Steinbrenner or Jerry Jones. It’s quite another to work for a guy who writes checks with his mouth that his team’s bank account can’t cash.

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Obituary: Thanks to Ed Snider’s fervent leadership, Philadelphia emerged as one of the NHL’s most successful franchises

Stan Fischler
Ed Snider receives the lifetime achievement award from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at the Global Sports Summit. (Evanta Ventures, LLC)

Ed Snider — friend and foe — who died on Monday was above being just special, he was inimitable.

The man, who helped found the Philadelphia Flyers and helped craft the expansion franchise into the NHL’s first expansion Stanley Cup-winners in 1974 and 1975, blended penultimate passion with supreme sagacity.

Snider and I had a friendly-enemy relationship although we had lots in common: both Jewish, both energetic supporters of the State of Israel, both the same age and both hockey nuts from the first time we watched stick handlers.

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Wayne Simmonds’ two goals power Flyers past Penguins and into the playoffs

Jared Clinton
Wayne Simmonds (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins’ loss Saturday afternoon set up a win-and-in situation for the Flyers, and with the post-season only two points away, Philadelphia was hoping for one good effort to put them into the playoffs. On a team-wide basis, the Flyers produced, but no players stood out quite like Wayne Simmonds, who stepped up and has Philadelphia readying for the playoffs.

Simmonds, 27, has been an offensive juggernaut for the Flyers all season, and with the potential to earn Philadelphia a playoff berth Saturday, he made the most of his chances. In the first frame, after the Flyers had fallen behind on a goal by the Penguins’ Nick Bonino, Simmonds used his speed and reach to knot the score following a slick feed from Jakub Voracek.

Scoring only the game-tying goal would have made Simmonds a momentary hero in the City of Brotherly Love, but he assured fans would be chanting his name throughout the city well into the night in the second frame when he made an outstanding play to deflect a Shayne Gostisbehere shot past Penguins netminder Jeff Zatkoff to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead: Read more

Bruins’ clutch win means final Eastern Conference playoff spots will be decided in Game 82

Loui Eriksson (Getty Images)

The late-season scoreboard watching will continue into the final weekend of the NHL regular season.

The Boston Bruins beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Thursday night to pull into a tie for third place in the Atlantic Division. Detroit could have clinched a playoff berth for the 25th consecutive season, but struggled on the second night of back-to-back games against teams fighting for their playoff lives.

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