Last night the Flyers played perhaps their most resilient and best game of the season. The score did not indicate how well the Flyers played against the Washington Capitals. The Flyers lost 2-1 in shootout in the final game of this horrendous six-game West Coast trip that culminated in Washington last night.
The Flyers finished the trip 2-2-2, which means they gained six points out of a possible 12. Now, if we sit down and analyze this team throughout the six games, we will all see how bad this team was beat up physically.
The Flyers went through a slew of injuries during the trip. Joffrey Lupul, Claude Giroux, Simon Gagne, John Kalinski, Darrol Powe, Antero Niittymaki, Scott Hartnell, and Arron Asham all experienced injury; that's seven forwards and one goalie.
No matter the odds, the Flyers kept fighting and ended their trip at .500. This squad has more heart and desire than any team I see in the NHL. Mentally, this team cannot be defeated. Even through this injury issue, the Flyers fought tooth-and-nail last night on the Capitals' home ice, where they have been basically unbeatable.
Washington has won 12 of 13 and 18 of 20, with its last defeat being a 7-1 drubbing at Philadelphia on Dec. 20. The Capitals improved to an Eastern Conference-best 18-1-1 at the Verizon Center and have never had a better overall record at the midpoint of an 82-game season.
With this new-found rivalry between these two teams, Washington's head coach Bruce Boudreau put this in perspective:
"Enough has been said about the 'war' between Philly and Washington, and we felt this was a business day," Boudreau said. "We wanted to be like machines and go out there and do what we're capable of doing. It's was a 50-50 game right to the end, and that's what happens when two real good teams play."
Coach John Stevens admitted the team was tired, but his team didn't come in lazy or not ready to play. They came in and worked their behinds off to try to get two points.
"We talked to the team about it and we all agreed that they were feeling sluggish," Stevens said. "We've had some guys injured and some of our veteran guys have stepped up and played great."
The Flyers will begin a three-game homestand starting tomorrow, when they face-off against the Minnesota Wild at 7:00pm. Marty Biron will be in net for the Flyers.
I apologize for the short article, but I have a lot going on with the Phillies' season moving in, so some of my coverage shifts to the Phillies for my station.