Heading into Game 4, the Washington Capitals had a golden opportunity to sweep their Metropolitan Division rival Philadelphia Flyers out of the playoffs. The Capitals skated into Game 4, but they did not give a complete effort.
The Capitals had a solid rally in the 3rd period, but it was not good enough. They ended up falling short 2-1, and the Flyers live to see another game in the playoffs.
It was a dud performance for the Washington Capitals in Game 4. They looked like they were skating around, just going through the motions. There was very little emotion, and the Capitals did not play desperate hockey.
Heading into Game 5, the Capitals will attempt to eliminate the Flyers once again, and the series will shift back to Verizon Center.
What will the Capitals have to do in order to finally eliminate the Flyers? How can the Capitals ensure that they will not have another repeat of Game 4? What are the keys to a Capitals victory for Game 5?
GET AN EARLY GOAL AND GET THE CROWD ALIVE
The Capitals had a terrible 1st period against the Flyers in Game 4. Slow starts became a bad habit for the Capitals throughout the regular season, and the Capitals need to kick that bad habit out of their system.
Verizon Center is always rocking for the playoffs. The Capitals need to get the crowd noise up early.
Assuming the Flyers stick with Michal Neuvirth in net, he needs to be tested early in the game. Neuvirth was not tested much in the first two periods of Game 4. The Capitals must get second and third chances at the net with their shots.
CONVERT ON THE POWERPLAY
The Capitals could have really used a powerplay tally against the Flyers in Game 4. They were 0/2 with the man advantage, and the referees were letting the players play throughout the game.
If the Capitals would have skated better, they would have probably drawn more powerplays in the game. If the Capitals get more powerplay chances in games, they will break the Flyers penalty kill down and they should score some goals.
LIMIT EARLY PENALTIES
Another bad habit the Capitals have is committing too many penalties early in games. It seems like penalties tend to come in bunches with the Capitals. They do not want to give the Flyers early powerplay advantages in Game 5. If they do this, the penalty killers will be more exhausted later in the game, where they can be used strategically for other defensive assignments.
DO NOT FALL FOR THE FLYERS SHENANIGANS
Some of the Flyers players will attempt to get their opponents into taking unnecessary penalties. The Capitals need to be careful, and they need to avoid retaliation. If the Capitals can score some goals early in the game, the Flyers will begin losing their cool and they will be the ones taking unnecessary penalties.
The best way the Capitals can beat the Flyers is on the scoreboard. It does not necessarily have to be with fists, or chirps on the ice. Winning on the scoreboard is the best way to send a dagger to the Flyers organization.
By: George Foussekis