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Capitals’ Defense Stymies Flyers in Game 1
- Updated: April 14, 2016
Washington Allows only 19 Shots on Goal in Shutout Win
Washington Capitals 2 vs Philadelphia Flyers 0
WASHINGTON, D.C.-The Washington Capitals entered the 2016 playoffs as the odds-on favorite to lift the Stanley Cup this year. They won the President’s Trophy as the best regular season team, but the postseason is where this team will be judged. One of their biggest strengths this season was their defense and that was on full display in Game 1 of their first round series.
The Capitals held the Philadelphia Flyers to 19 shots on goal on their way to a 2-0 win Thursday night at the Verizon Center to take a 1-0 series lead.
Despite the expectations coming into the playoffs, Washington started the game a bit shaky. They took three penalties in the opening frame and were outshot 11-8. However, Capitals net minder Braden Holtby held his ground to send the game to the intermission tied 0-0.
In the second, Washington would settle down and begin to let their game take over. The Capitals held the Flyers to only four shots on goal in the period. Toward the end of the middle period, they took advantage of a power-play to take a 1-0 lead.
With 3:39 remaining in the second, defenseman John Carlson took a point shot that deflected off of Flyers forward Chris VandeVelde and past goalie Steve Mason to score his first goal of the postseason and give the Capitals the lead.
Washington’s game continued to dictate the action in the third period as they stymied Philadelphia’s offense. The Capitals would then put the game away with 3:24 left when Jay Beagle netted his first of the playoffs to seal Washington’s 2-0 win and give them a 1-0 series lead.
If the loss wasn’t bad enough for the Flyers, they suffered injury to insult when center Sean Couturier left the game in the second period after running into Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. Couturier did not return and was said to have an upper-body injury. He would be re-evaluated on Friday.
With the 19-save shutout, Holtby earned his third career playoff shutout.
If Philadelphia wants to make this a long series, they will have to learn to stay out of the penalty box. The Flyers gave the Capitals six power-plays, which is asking for trouble when facing a power-play as dangerous as Washington’s.
Game 2 will Saturday night at the Verizon Center at 7 pm ET (CNBC).
Three Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Braden Holtby, WSH
2nd Star: John Carlson, WSH