Flyers-Capitals: Postgame Review
Points have been hard to come by for the Flyers in March, but a turnaround may be near if this weekend is any indication.
After rallying for four goals in the third period of Saturday's game in Carolina, the Flyers turned in one of their best games in March, a 6-3 win on home ice against the Washington Capitals. The four-point stretch gives the Flyers some breathing room with just nine games left on the schedule before the regular season comes to an end.
Let's get to it with our Postgame Review.
- Goaltending - There is something to be said about the Flyers goaltending the last two nights.Alex Lyon just seems to step up and handle any situation really well. Need a start? He's done well with it. Enter in relief? He's definitely answered the call. In his start on Saturday, you have to credit the Flyers netminder for keeping the team in the game until the Flyers could get the offense rolling.
Petr Mrazek was facing the tougher competition this weekend, but after start after start of poor play, he had to make some difficult saves and catch some breaks to keep the Flyers in the game as well. It still wasn't his best game, but there was no goal he would like back or big save that needed to be made in a spot where his team needed it.
So from a goaltending standpoint, the Flyers got two winning performances, all you can ask for at this stage of the season.
- Oskar the Great - It took 12 games of scoreless play before Oskar Lindblom finally broke through. On Saturday, it was a quick centering pass to Jake Voracek that was his first NHL point. Voracek returned the favor on Sunday with a pass off a Capitals turnover that set up his first NHL goal.And what a goal it was.
Lindblom's first was the type players dream of. A rising shot to beat the netminder, and no questions as to if it was in and who scored the goal. So Lindblom is able to fully enjoy the moment.
This was really a reward for some very solid all-around play for Lindblom in the last few weeks. Since his call-up, his approach to the game has been great, so while there were no points to speak of, there was the potential to just be patient because it was coming soon. It has arrived for the Swede, and there's certainly going to be more to come.
- Scoring Variety - In these last two wins for the Flyers, there has been a lot of scoring from a lot of sources. Travis Konecny, Jake Voracek, Valtteri Filppula and Michael Raffl all scored in Carolina. Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Wayne Simmonds, Lindblom and Voracek scored against Washington.It's not just the players who are scoring, but the way they are scoring that makes a difference too. The Flyers scored their first two goals on Sunday on clean shots, Gostisbehere with a clapper from the point and Lindblom's top-shelf goal from the slot. The next two came on deflections, one by Provorov on a long-range shot off a Washington defender and another on a Robert Hagg shot tipped by Simmonds.
You have to find different ways to produce and different sources of scoring. Lately, it seemed the Flyers were struggling on both ends -- unable to finish on chances and not getting depth scoring. They got both this weekend, and that may be the spark the team needs for a turnaround at the stretch run.
- Playing the Right Way - For the back-end of a back-to-back, the Flyers turned in a really strong start.Getting off to a good start has been a problem for the Flyers of late, but this was a game where through the first period, they matched the speed and intensity of the Capitals through the first 20 minutes. Washington had been waiting since Friday night to play, while the Flyers had to grind for a win in Carolina on Saturday.
Better yet, the Flyers kept the intensity going into the third period to build a lead. The two Washington goals in the third period came on small mistakes, but fatigue probably factored in as well. At the very least, the work they put in over the first 40 minutes was able to mask those mistakes in some way.
It is a weekend where the Flyers can build on the results of this weekend and the effort used to get those results. There are two games against inferior opponents on Tuesday and Thursday to come before the Flyers get another Sunday game against a top team in the Metro.
- Playoff Preview? - With the Flyers and Capitals so close to each other in the standings, the though of another playoff series between the two is certainly a possibility. Based on this game, that would be an excellent series.The Flyers played Washington tough all season, going 3-1-0 in the process. To get a seven-game series against Washington would probably provide the Flyers with their best chance to come out victorious in a series, over a team like Pittsburgh or Tampa, but that's the joy of playing in the playoffs.
For now, appreciate the effort and the energy that was in Wells Fargo Center by both the team and the fans. That was how a team should approach a playoff game. The atmosphere was playoff-like too.
The fans are more than ready for playoff hockey. With a successful weekend and four additional points in the standings, the Flyers should start getting ready for additional hockey after the final nine games of the regular season wind down.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.