Flyers-Caps: Massacre on Broad St.

Chris DiFrancescoAnalyst IDecember 20, 2008

The Philadelphia Flyers can be compared to the World Champion Phillies on one aspect: They never get too high, and never get too low.

The Flyers went into Montreal this past Thurs and got destroyed and out-played by the Montreal Canadians, losing 5-2. The club came right back this afternoon and put up seven goals against the their newly crowned rivals, Washington Capitals, beating them 7-1.

Antero Niittymaki put on one of the best goaltending performances I've seen in a long time. Niittymaki stopped 26 first period shots, yes that's 26 shots in the first period. That amount is only six away from a Flyers franchise record of shots allowed in the opening period. Niittymaki also stopped 12 shots by Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

Now on to who gets credit for seven goals. Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell put up a clinic on the Capitals defense and goaltending. Scott Hartnell netted his second hat-trick in nine days, and Carter added two of his own in 54 seconds. One of Carter's goals was the Flyers league leading 13th shorthanded goal.

A funny moment came in the second period when Carter, according to the sold-out Wachovia Center, scored his third goal of the game. The fans proceeded to throw a barrage of hats onto the ice to celebrate Carter's "hat-trick." Low and behold, the goal was obviously by Scott Hartnell who slapped the puck from the air into the back of the net.

Carter, who now has 24 goals, is tied for the NHL league lead with Thomas Vanek.

At the end of the second period, the Flyers were out-shot 39 to 13, yet winning 3-0. All in all, the Flyers won the game 7-1 while getting destroyed in the shots ratio 48-28. The Capitals scored their only goal on their 41st shot of the game.

The Flyers are unbeaten in regulation in their past 11 home games (9-0-2).

"We're just coming out with determination in our home building," Hartnell said after the game. "People aren't going to come in here and have an easy game. We're getting physical. The coaches have us prepared and 20 guys are coming to play. We want nothing short of that."

All of the Flyers goals today came from the second line, which is something the Flyers should marvel at when watching today's game film. Lost in all of this scoring frenzy was a goal by Joffrey Lupul, who opened the game with a first period goal. Simon Gagne put up a power play tally from a nice dish pass from Jeff Carter. Carter ended the game with four points (2G, 2A).

When all the dust settled, Antero Niittymaki was the star of this game and deservedly so; he was a highlight reel today between the pipes. It was a great make-up game for Niitty, who didn't play so hot against the Habs on Thursday.

Niittymaki, who has won six of his past seven starts, made a number of spectacular saves, including three on sir Alexander Ovechkin.

"Niitty won us that game," Jeff Carter said about his goalie. "They could have had four or five or six goals in the first period. Niitty stood tall and gave us the momentum."

The Flyers have registered a point now in 17 of their last 19 games, are now 18-8-6 with 42 points, and are in sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

These teams beat each other up pretty badly today, including three fights headlined by Josh Gratton and Matt Bradley. I expect these two teams to play an exciting must-watch game every time they face-off. Lastly, I'm getting close to saying that watching these two play each other is as fun as watching the orange and black go up against the Penguins.

The Flyers don't get much time to rest as they take the train up to north Jersey to face the Devils, who are 7-2-1 in their last 10.