Game 1 between the Capitals and Flyers had plenty of sparks and excitement, and it did not disappoint. The game was a special teams battle and a physical battle.
Here are some key takeaways from this battle between the 2 Metropolitan Division foes:
-In the 1st period, the Capitals got into some penalty trouble. Brooks Orpik committed 2 minor penalties, and both infractions were questionable calls by the referees. Orpik had 4 hits and 4 blocked shots in the game.
-The Capitals skated better in the 2nd period. They outshot the Flyers 14-4 in the frame, and received a powerplay goal from John Carlson.
-The Capitals continued their territorial dominance in the 3rd period. Jay Beagle added an insurance goal late in the 3rd period. The Capitals only gave up 4 shots in the third period, and only gave up 8 shots against in the final 40 minutes.
The Capitals went 1/6 on the powerplay, and had a 4 minute powerplay in the 3rd period, which they did not convert on. It was a blown opportunity, considering the Capitals could have added to their 1-0 lead earlier in the game.
The Flyers went 0/4 on the powerplay, and 3 of their 4 powerplays happened in the 1st period. They had a chance to put the Capitals down in a deficit early, but could not convert.
PHYSICALITY AND ROUGH STUFF
-The Flyers lost Sean Couturier in the game after he took a rough hit from Alex Ovechkin along the boards. He reportedly has an A/C sprain to the left shoulder and he is done for the series. This is a huge blow to the Flyers, as Couturier can play multiple positions on the ice, and he is an excellent penalty killer.
-Brayden Schenn registered 6 hits for the Flyers. He displayed his physical side, and had a questionable high hit against Mike Richards.
-Washington had the slight edge in hits (29-26), but it felt like there were more hits in this game that were not recorded on the stats sheet. The referees gave a little too much leeway to both clubs in this game.
-Tom Wilson and Wayne Simmonds dropped the gloves with each other midway through the 3rd period. Both received 5 minute majors and an extra 2 minutes respectively. Wilson and Simmonds did not return to the game after their fight.
–Evgeny Kuznetsov led all skaters with 7 shots on goal. He did not register a point.
-Marcus Johansson recorded 2 helpers and had a +1 rating.
-Braden Holtby recorded 19 saves in the shutout.
-Claude Giroux finished with 2 shots on goal and a -1 rating.
-Radko Gudas led all Flyers defensemen with 21:50 icetime.
-This game got very chippy quickly. The Flyers lacked a little bit of discipline late in the game, and it hurt their chance to tie the game. The Capitals were able to match the physical effort of the Flyers, and they did not get pushed around from their rivals from Philly.
-The Capitals powerplay did score a goal, but was not very good. There was not a lot of movement, and the Capitals were trying too many pretty passes. There could be some more shooting on the powerplay, especially from Nicklas Backstrom.
-The Capitals penalty kill was very good in the game, especially early in the 1st period. Winning the special teams battle will be a key for the Capitals in this series. Players like Mike Richards, Daniel Winnik, and Jay Beagle have formed an excellent penalty killing rotation for the Capitals.
By: George Foussekis