Game 5 Preview: Flyers @ Capitals


After failing to sweep the Flyers on Wednesday night, the series shifts back to the district Friday night as the Capitals get another opportunity at finishing them off and getting some rest while awaiting the result of the Rangers-Penguins series.  Washington still leads the series 3-1. 

Philadelphia made a statement early on in Game 4.  They got a goal on the power play by Shayne Gostisbehere to get on the scoreboard.  In the second period, the Flyers struck again with a goal by Andrew MacDonald.

The Capitals entered the final period down 2-0 but cut the lead in half less than three minutes in.  It was a good start for a team that has been very good in the third period.  The Capitals have outscored the Flyers 7-0 in the third period in this series and rank first in the NHL in third period goals this postseason.

T.J. Oshie scored his first playoff goal as a Washington Capital at 2:38; assisted by Matt Niskanen, and Karl Alzner.

The Caps prior to Game 3 were phenomenal on special teams.  In the first three games, the Caps were 8 of 17 on the power play before going 0 for 2 on the night in Game 4.  On the defensive side, the Caps have been great on the penalty kill as they didn’t allow the Flyers to score during their 13 times with the man advantage.  That streak ended in the Flyers first goal of the game.

Former Capital Michael Neuvirth was in net for Game 4 after the Caps figured out Steve Mason in the first three games.  Mason was benched.  Neuvirth had a good night against his ex-team as he stopped 31 of 32 shots for a .969 save percentage.  Braden Holtby, who appeared to be okay after a collision with a teammate during practice the day before, stopped 23 of 25 shots for a .920 save percentage.  With 19 wins entering Friday night, Holtby looks to tie Caps goaltending great Olie Kolzig for first place in franchise playoff wins if the Caps can send the fans home happy with a Game 5 series win.

The Caps have outscored the Flyers 13-4 but eight of those goals came with the man advantage.  At even strength on both sides, the Caps lead only by a 5-3 margin.  If the Flyers want to get back in this series, it’s important that they stay out of the box.  The Caps want to be able to solve their former goaltender the same way they figured out Mason.  The key for the Caps to end this series on Friday night is to get off to a good start and score early to put pressure on Philadelphia.  Puck drop is at 7 p.m. and you can catch the game locally on CSN and nationally on NBCSN (U.S.) and CBC (Canada).

By Michael Marzzacco

Related links:
Postgame Notebook: Flyers 2, Caps 1 (Dump ‘N Chase):
Capitals’ habit of coming back strong after a loss should serve them well in Game 5 (DC Sports Bog): 
Capitals have been weak at even strength (The Washington Post):
VIDEO: Chuck Gormley does on-Zamboni interview with driver (CSN):
Capitals vs Flyers Game 4: What Worked and What Didn’t (Japers’ Rink)


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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