Who would’ve thought the main talking point of Game 2 in the Flyers-Capitals series would be goaltending?
Sure there is bad blood and goal scoring, but it’s the goalies who garnered the most attention.
With the way the Game 1 ended, no one was surprised with the heavy hitting that took place in Game 2. The two teams combined for 74 hits; however, they were careful to keep those hits in the legal side of the line.
Take this blast by Alex Ovechkin. Right as Brayden Schenn released the puck, Ovi checked him up and into the Capitals bench.
— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) April 16, 2016
Hand it to the Flyers, they were considerably well behaved, even after plays like that. They did get whistled for two penalties, though; each time, the Capitals made them pay.
The first power play goal came from John Carlson to put Washington up 1-0.
The Capitals took the lead into the second.
Early on in the period, Flyers goaltender Steve Mason made an incredible split save, but unfortunately followed it up with a massive blunder.
Jason Chimera made contact with the puck at the center red line and deflected it into the Flyers’ zone. The puck trickled down the ice and right on net. It went through the five-hole of Mason to give Capitals a 2 goal lead.
“Can say it over and over again, ‘It’s a bad goal,'” said Mason, his face flush after about as embarrassing a miscue as an NHL goaltender can make. “That wasn’t good. My fault, obviously. Put the team in a tough position after that. Just a bad goal.”
In a rarely seen display of empathy between opponents in the playoffs, Holtby conveyed how terrible he felt for Mason. More from Whyno:
“I couldn’t even watch the replay of it,” said Holtby, who made 19 first-period saves to match his total from Game 1. “Even as an opposing team, you want to earn your goals and whatnot (instead of) weird bounces like that. I feel for him.”
The Flyers did get some relief later on as Jakub Voracek finally ended Holtby’s series shutout streak at 89:37.
The feeling would not last. With less than five minutes to go in the period, the Flyers took a hooking penalty.
It was only a matter of time before Ovechkin got his opportunity do what he does from his office on the power play.
Philadelphia did not quit.
As they had in the first period, the Flyers held the Capitals to only 5 shots on goal in the third, while countering with 11 shots of their own. They just could not solve Holtby.
From Katie Brown of NHL.com:
“If you score one goal in two games, you don’t win many games,” Voracek said. “Holtby was good; I’ll give him credit for that. We’ve got to dig in and get some bounces at home.”
Nicklas Backstrom iced the game at 4-1 with a wicked snap shot.
Philly is facing a 2-0 series deficit as they head home to the comfy confines of Wells Fargo Center.
The idea of a goalie change was posed to Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol in the post game. Via Joe McDonald with ESPN:
“I haven’t thought a whole lot about that,” Hakstol said. “What are we, 20 minutes from the end of the hockey game here, fellas? [Mason] has been outstanding for us and we’re going to [evaluate] our lineup as we’ve done all year long and we’ll do what’s best for our hockey team. Mase has been a guy that’s carried us through different parts of this season, but no question down the stretch he’s been the guy and done a great job for us, so I haven’t considered [changing goalies] to this point and time but that’s how I feel about Mase.”
Monday’s game is expected to be an emotional one for the Flyers. It is the first home game since the passing of owner Ed Snider.
One thing we know for sure: Holtby will be ready. If he keeps this play up throughout the playoffs, the Capitals won’t need the services of Justin Williams, a.k.a. Mr. Game 7, after all.
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