The Philadelphia Flyers' six game win streak snapped last night after falling in overtime to the Washington Capitals. Mike Green scored on a slapper, just 29 seconds into the OT frame, to end it.
Sergei Bobrovsky was not able to tie Pelle Lindbergh's record of seven straight victories for a rookie goalie, although he played well enough to do so. Unfortunately the Flyers were too busy in the penalty box,or running around in their own zone to do much to assist the young Russian. He stopped 36 of 39 shots.
The goalie at the other end was also a young rookie, but not Michael Neuvirth. It was Braden Holtby. Holtby played extremely well for himself and managed to get a hold of 23 of the 25 Philadelphia shots. Without trying to take anything away from the kid, I was surprised he was the second star of the game (and on the NHL headline) but Bobrovsky wasn't nearly as hyped after he played a better game. But, hey, I guess to the victor go the spoils.
Nik Zherdev had a nasty wrister for the first goal of the game on a 2-1 that was oddly more like a break away. Ovechkin was kept to an assist and 6 shots in 23 minutes of ice time. Backstrom had 2 assists in a quiet (zero shots) but effective game.
The standings in the Eastern Conference have the Capitals ahead of the Flyers by virtue of a tie breaker, but both have 20 points. The Flyers are off until Thursday when they play Carolina in Carolina. The Capitals, meanwhile, will visit the Rangers in New York on Tuesday.
To me, the Flyers had no business getting a point out of that game. They looked tired and did not get enough offensive pressure, not nearly enough. They did have spurts but, nothing sustained. Also, when you give the Caps 5 power plays, including one in overtime, it's hard to win. Although, the refs did a good job of making it difficult for the Flyers not to get a penalty or to gain a power play. Sean O'Donnell boarding where? It wasn't there. Erskine tackling a Flyer in front of the net was just a source for a Joe Beninati joke. Completely ignored by the refs.
Excuse me if my bias is showing, but so is the NHL's. At least now it's level. The Caps flick their head back, the Caps cry foul and problem solved. The Caps are tied late in the game at home: problem solved. It is not just against the Flyers and it is not just the Capitals (I'm looking at you, Pittsburgh!) It is clear just like the NBA's top team or two, the NHL's favorite team or two gets that little boost.
But that's a whole different post at a whole different time.
Enjoy the highlights!