Capitals finally eliminate Flyers; will meet Penguins in Round 2

Can you hear that? It’s the television executives in both the US and Canada crying tears of joy after the Washington Capitals eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6.

It now sets up the dream TV matchup of Alex Ovechkin’s Capitals versus Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

We’ll have plenty of analysis of that matchup in the coming days, but first we must look at how the Caps dispatched of the Flyers in Game 6.

It certainly wasn’t an offensive pummeling that we’re used to seeing Washington deliver.

For the third straight game, Michal Neuvirth got the start in net for Philadelphia. In his previous two starts, he faced 79 shots against allowing only one goal and winning both games for his team.

He was nearly perfect in Game 6, making 28 of 29 saves.

In the second period, Nicklas Backstrom was given four minutes for high-sticking Ryan White. Only problem, it was Philly’s Chris VandeVelde who chopped White in the face.


Five seconds after Backstrom went to the box, Matt Niskanen was whistled for taking down Wayne Simmonds to give the Flyers a 5-on-3 for 1:55.

The hockey gods can be as benevolent as they are vengeful. 

Philly produced only three shots on goal with the two-man advantage. This appeared to be the momentum swing the Capitals needed.

“When you kill those off it gives you almost more momentum than a goal,” said T.J. Oshie. “Everyone’s getting up, everyone’s congratulating the guys who were out there and you get out and come down and you go the other way.”

Backstrom’s penalty ends and he joins the play in the Flyers’ zone. Radko Gudas bumps off Ovechkin as the Caps captain moves the puck along the blueline. Ovi passes to Marcus Johansson, who is all alone in the slot, and as the Flyers converge, MoJo rockets a pass to Backstrom just below the dot.

Neuvirth never stood a chance as the Capitals center one-timed the puck past him.

“It was 3 on 2 and a good pass and a unbelievable shot,” said Neuvirth after the game. “I don’t think I could have stopped it.”

That was it as far as scoring goes for the entire game. Despite Philly’s best efforts, they just couldn’t get one past Braden Holtby, who made all 26 saves in the shut-out.

All the magic the Flyers had generated in their past two wins appear to have run out. The team was tired and frustrated.

They’re a good hockey team over there, they don’t give up a whole lot,” said Brayden Schenn. “They played tight defensively, and when you’ve got a good chance, you’ve gotta beat Holtby. Obviously the power play in that game let us down. We had a chance to capitalize on a 5-on-3 and weren’t able to put one in.”

As the clock counted down to the end of the game, the Philadelphia faithful came to their feet to salute their team.


The cheer is well earned as the Flyers had to defy all odds just to make the playoffs in the second to the last day of the regular season. To win two games against the heavily favored Capitals and stay with them in Game 3 is a huge accomplishment.

“… we battled hard the last two months of the year,” said Claude Giroux. “At one point we were eight points off. And we really started playing the way we wanted to. We knew it was going to be a process. The last two months we gave it everything we had. It’s obviously frustrating to be out here right now.”

As for the Capitals, they turn their attention to the Penguins in a series that surely won’t be over-hyped at all.