“The City of Brotherly Love” turned into “The City of Brotherly Fists to the Face” Friday night as the Washington Capitals handed the frustrated Philadelphia Flyers their ninth loss of the season. The first of five meetings of the season against the Caps and Flyers was one to remember, without a doubt. Although Flyers fans had nothing to cheer about, they got their money’s worth during this showdown at Wells Fargo Center where a brutal line brawl erupted in the third period which featured four sets of fighters, one including the goalies which has received tons of media.
I mean, what else do you expect when you’re on Broad Street, eh?
When the Caps learned that their star forward and lead goal scorer, Alex Ovechkin was day-to-day with an injured right shoulder, they figured they would make the most of the situation and take it on as a challenge to generate offensive heat against a not-so-hot Metropolitan rival. That’s exactly what they did, as they annihilated the home team 7-0. Goals came from four different Caps, Joel Ward, Nick Backstrom, Jason Chimera and Troy Brouwer.
Offense put on quite the show before the altercations came in the third period where they had 32 shots on goal. Joel Ward notched his first career hat trick in the 366th game of his career and Nick Backstrom found the back of Emery’s net twice. Not to mention Jason Chimera sniped his career-high goal #5 on the season, and Brouwer his fourth.
“As a kid I’ve always dreamed about scoring big goals, trying to getting a hat trick, or even to win the Stanley Cup,” Ward said. “It was a good feeling, I can’t deny that. I felt really good. I got a couple of good passes. Chimmer gave me that last one right on my stick; I didn’t have to do much. The fact that we got the big win on top of that was an even better feeling.”
When it came down to defending the puck in their own zone, one would have never known that the Caps have been a team struggling to find their defensive groove for the past several games as they took on the Flyers. Holtby stood tall in the crease saving 30 shots and recorded his first save of the season, the eighth of his career. The defense in front of Holtby was commendable as well as they played as a whole and did everything in their power to keep the puck away from their netminder. The penalty kill continues to do a phenomenal job deep in their own zone, killing 36 of 37 consecutive penalties.
Friday was the Caps’ largest margin of victory against the Flyers upon entering the league in 1974 and matched the Flyers’ largest shutout loss since 1994.
As the Capitals continue to coast up the standings, we can only hope that the team continues to do everything they did in their beating on the Flyers; good work down low, continued domination of special teams, and each line working together as a unit to execute. While this thriller of a hockey game between long-time rivals is in the books, Caps and Flyers fans’ blood will continue to boil as they anticipate the teams’ second meeting of the season, which is all set for December 15 at the Verizon Center. Round 2, who’s ready?