Before the puck dropped between the Flyers and Capitals, the boys in orange and black received some devastating news on Tuesday afternoon: Simon Gagne has two groin hernias and may require surgery. They were discovered following an ultrasound earlier on Tuesday. Gagne will be sitting down with GM Paul Holmgren and team medical staff on Wednesday to discuss his options and recovery timetables.
On the ice, the two teams picked up precisely where they left off after the Flyers 6-5 overtime victory on October 6th. The pace was frantic throughout the entire game, and can best be described as playoff hockey in October. It would be a treat to see these two teams meet in the playoffs again.
The game was scoreless after the first, but it wasn't for a lack of scoring chances at both ends. Claude Giroux, displaying some incredible puck handling skills, created several opportunities for the Flyers, as did James van Riemsdyk, but neither was able to convert.
For the Capitals, Alexander Semin had a golden opportunity near the end of the period, but couldn't settle the puck down to get a decent shot on goaltender Ray Emery.
Shots on goal were 11-10 in favour of Washington after one period of play.
The Flyers were granted an early powerplay opportunity in the second period and did not waste much time in making it count.
At 3:06, three Flyers rushed up ice and gained the zone. Captain Mike Richards threaded a Forsbergian pass across the ice to Scott Hartnell for the easy tap in, 1-0 Flyers.
Fourteen seconds later, Semin clanked one off the post.
Hartnell almost got his second of the night a few minutes later on a very pretty three-way passing play from Giroux to Richards to Hartnell, but shot it wide.
Then, the penalty trouble began for the Flyers.
First, the Flyers got a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Less than twenty seconds later, Richards and Powe were rushing up ice shorthanded, and Powe took an alley-oop pass from Richards right in front of Capitals netminder Jose Theodore. Theodore was outside of the blue paint, but somehow, Powe was called for goaltender interference.
The dreaded 5-on-3.
The Flyers penalty killers were brilliant by effectively blocking the shooting lanes and by getting a lot of help from Emery, who was forced to make several point-blank saves.
They killed both penalties and were rewarded shortly after with a powerplay of their own.
Proving the importance of faceoffs, Coburn drilled a point shot past Theodore for a 2-0 lead after Carter won the offensive-zone draw.
That lead was erased - quickly. In a span of just 2:04, the Caps scored two goals to even up the score.
First, Ovechkin brought the Caps within one with his 10th of the season - a wicked wrister up high from about five feet out that cleanly beat Emery.
Next, Pyorala was called for holding, and Nicklas Backstrom made them pay. Stationed in the high slot, he one-timed a pass from Semin past Emery who never had a chance.
Shots at the end of two periods favoured Washington, 26-23.
Five minutes into the third period, Semin unleashed a wrist shot from thirty feet out that deflected off Kimmo Timonen's shin pad and fooled Emery. The goal gave the Capitals their first lead of the night, 3-2.
The Flyers poured on the pressure and rained down 20 shots on Theodore in the period, including an unsuccessful penalty shot by Darrol Powe, but were unable to get the equalizer.
Ovechkin added an empty netter to seal a 4-2 victory for the Capitals. With the loss, the Flyers drop to 5-4-1, and have lost two in a row.
- Timonen was -3 for the night and was on the ice for all four Washington goals. He is now -10 on the season.
- Flyers were 2-for-5 on the powerplay; Capitals were 1-for-4.
- Chris Pronger fired five shots on net and was on the ice for 30:41.
Next game: Carolina at Philadelphia, Saturday, October 31, 1 p.m.