The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers faced off on April 17. The result was a 6-3 victory for the Capitals. This win moved Washington to a record of 29-12-4 and Philadelphia to a record of 20-18-6. Washington sits at first place in the division with 62 points while the Flyers are in sixth place with 46 points.
The game brought ups and downs for the Capitals. Here is a look at what went well, what went poorly and what comes next for Washington.
The Washington Capitals demonstrated their scoring ability against the Flyers. The Capitals recorded a total of 40 shots on goal and had numerous quality scoring opportunities. They scored three five-on-five goals, two power-play goals, and an empty-net goal.
Alexander Ovechkin led the charge for Washington with a powerplay goal in the first period. In the second period, he scored again, this time just four seconds into the powerplay. Ovechkin showed off his patented one-timer and the efficiency of the Capitals powerplay unit.
On the note of offensive success, Washington defensemen had themselves quite a game. John Carlson recorded four assists in the game, a career-high for the Norris Trophy candidate. Carlson now has 42 points and leads NHL defensemen in points this season. Dmitry Orlov contributed to the game’s goal total with an excellent shot in the second period and Justin Schultz recorded an assist off a third period deflection goal by Connor Sheary.
Evgeny Kuznetzov also performed well, tallying a goal and two assists. Additionally, new acquisition Anthony Mantha continued his hot start with the Capitals with an empty netter near the end of the third period. This was Mantha’s third goal in just as many games.
The Washington Capitals’ fourth line is usually responsible for defensive and penalty kill play, but they had quality offensive opportunities against the Flyers. Garnet Hathaway did an excellent job putting pressure on Philadelphia goaltender Alex Lyon. Hathaway and his linemates Nic Dowd and Carl Hagelin did a nice job setting up plays, taking shots, and maintaining offensive zone possession.
The Flyer’s second goal of the game came on a virtual two on zero opportunity. Washington turned over the puck in the neutral zone while in the middle of a line change and Nicolas Aube-Kubel took control of it. He passed it to James Van Riemsdyk who was able to take the puck into the Capitals’ zone and score without opposition from Washington. Daniel Sprong and Brenden Dillon were backchecking, but they were not close enough to effectively defend their goalie. Washington needs to continue working on their neutral zone play and timing their line changes well, especially in the second period.
The Capitals also took too many penalties. They were called for four penalties in the game, two of them being in the third period. While the Washington penalty kill was able to kill three of the four penalties, Wade Allison scored his first NHL goal on the Flyers’ fourth and final powerplay of the game. The penalties and giving up a goal are not big problems by themselves, but they indicate sloppy play by the Capitals. It would serve Washington well to remain disciplined and avoid taking unnecessary penalties.
The Washington Capitals will play the Boston Bruins on April 18 at 12 pm EST. The last meeting between the teams ended with an 8-1 victory for the Capitals. The game should be exciting as both teams bring skilled players and scoring ability. It should also be a heated matchup as the Bruins look to avenge their previous loss and Washington looks to maintain its top spot in the division.
There are a few milestones to look out for in this game. With Ovechkin’s next goal he will tie Marcel Dionne for fifth on the all-time goal-scoring list with 731 goals. Nicklas Backstrom is three goals away from reaching 300 career goals. Nic Dowd’s next goal will give him a new career-high season goal total of nine goals. Anthony Mantha sits two goals away from his 100th career goal and two points away from his 200th career point.
The upcoming match promises good hockey and milestones for the Washington Capitals.