Washington Capitals Drop 2nd Game of Round-Robin to Flyers 3-1

T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

The Washington Capitals fell 3-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Washington Capitals have been defeated 3-1 by the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 2 of their round-robin tournament. “Defeated” is a generous term, as this was one of the worst efforts I have seen from the Capitals since overtime of Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes from their 2019 first-round matchup and the Flyers walked all over them. This loss makes it impossible for Washington to finish in the top two of the four Eastern Conference teams.

The Capitals were without defenseman, John Carlson, for a second-straight game as Washington continues to keep him out of the lineup after he suffered a lower-body injury in their exhibition game with the Carolina Hurricanes.

They were also without Lars Eller, who left the bubble to be in Washington for the birth of his second child.

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The Capitals looked flat for the majority of the game. The offense generated very few opportunities and made life on the Flyers’ defense way too easy. Brian Elliott did not face enough high-danger chances leading to Craig Laughlin, color commentator for the NBC Sports Washington, claiming that the Flyers could have thrown Bernie Parent in the net and it would have been no different. Alex Ovechkin did not look like Ovechkin today, as he did not have a single shot throughout the entire 2nd period, and only had one in the 1st period. Part of the issue being their inability to win faceoffs. They won 20/60 of their draws, which will affect them a lot in the postseason when they have late-game draws in their own zone.

I would talk about the Capitals’ defense, but in doing that I would be implying that it exists and today, it most certainly did not. The Capitals’ defense could not hold the blue line and were turning the puck over in dangerous areas in the defensive zone. None more costly than Radko Gudas‘ turnover to Kevin Hayes, which led to the Flyers first goal. Centreman, Evgeny Kuznetsov, lost track of his man twice in his own zone resulting in Flyers’ goals. This led to him being benched for the final 11:23 of the game, not even getting the nod to get on when Braden Holtby was pulled. Head Coach, Todd Reirden, will need to call Kuznetsov out for his game yesterday when watching game film because, as a centreman, he needs to be much more aware of his surroundings when he is in his own zone. In terms of the defenders, however, this is a blue line in desperate need of John Carlson, and we have to hope that he will be back to play at least one more game before the real playoffs begin for the Caps.

Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

The only bright spot in one of the Capitals’ worst efforts in recent memory was Braden Holtby in the net. Holtby looked confident and focused, never more than when he made two sprawling saves on great Flyers’ opportunities. Although he allowed 3 goals on 21 shots, I think most people would be hard-pressed to find one goal that you could blame Holtby for. His play is helping boost the confidence of Capitals’ fans, despite how the team in front of him played.

A major issue in this game, and a recurring issue for the Capitals this season, was the amount of penalties they took. They took six penalties in this game, with four of them coming in the second period. A positive note is that they killed all six penalties they took, however, it is hard to get into a game and generate offense when you are in the penalty box so frequently.

On the other hand, their power play remains unimpressive. The Capitals had four power play opportunities and took advantage of zero of them. Special teams coach, Blaine Forsythe, needs to shake up the power play for the playoffs because these units have not been clicking for some time.

The Capitals will play their last game of the tournament against the Boston Bruins on Sunday, August 9th, and the winner will finish third in the standings and will face the Carolina Hurricanes. The loser will face either the New York Islanders or the Florida Panthers.

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Hopefully, they will bring a greater effort to that game than they did to this one.