Reporting Sky Kerstein
The Philadelphia Flyers, without stars Claude Giroux and Chris Pronger, took it to the Capitals defeating them 5-1 in a game the Caps were never really in. This is the first regulation loss for the Capitals to the Flyers since March 24th, 2009 and the sixth win for the Flyers in a row.
“They scored almost on the first shot of the game,” Caps Captain Alex Ovechkin said. “I don’t think we had that kind of energy and emotion we had before. It was a pretty bad game for all of us.”
The goal Ovechkin was talking about happened when Tomas Vokoun gave up a softie to Scott Hartnell late in the first and the momentum was squarely with the Flyers. The Flyers controlled the puck for the majority of the game and pushed the Caps around at will. They put three up in the third, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Wayne Simmonds and Maxime Talbot, to put the game out of reach. Jakub Voracek tipped one in just over five minutes into the third to make it 5-0 and start the stampede to the exits.
“We turned it into a practice for our d-zone coverage and their cycles,” Caps forward Jeff Halpern said. “It wore the game down, they embarrassed us because of it.”
One play summed up the whole game in the second period, Alex Ovechkin at the point tried to put the moves on Braydon Coburn, but Coburn didn’t bite and nailed Ovechkin against the boards, stole the puck, and started the breakaway for the Talbot goal. That was also the last goal Vokoun gave up as he was pulled to start the third for Michal Neuvirth. Vokoun ended up stopping 17 of 21 shots.
“Terrible performance,” Vokoun said about his game afterwards.
“Sometimes he’s [Vokoun] going to have a bad one,” Caps forward Troy Brouwer said. “That’s when the team needs to pick him up and help him out and we didn’t help him out.”
Neuvirth had a little better success just giving up one goal on 11 shots.
“He [Neuvirth] did good, he played well, made some good saves,” Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said on why he took Vokoun out of the game and put Neuvirth it. “It’s one of those games for Tomas [Vokoun] that some nights your not where you want to be and Neuvy [Neuvirth] hasn’t played in a while, give him a chance and he played well.”
The Caps ended up with 32 shots on goal, Alex Ovechkin had three of them but all came in the third period. The Caps also were four of six on the power play last Friday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but were 0 for 3 tonight. Jeff Halpern had the lone Caps goal to break the shut out with just over six minutes left in the third.
“If anything you just see that you got a little work to do, against a top team,” Caps forward Mike Knuble said. “And you got a ways to go, but I don’t think it’s something we can’t reach for, I don’t think it’s something we can’t achieve.”
The Caps (15-13-1, 31 points) will have to rebound fast as they head on a two game road trip tomorrow, first to play the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday and then Semyon Varlamov and the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
3rd 13:59 Halpern (3), Wideman (15), Ward (7)
Check out what Dale Hunter, Alex Ovechkin, Karl Alzner, Mike Knuble, Jeff Halpern, Troy Brouwer and Tomas Vokoun had to say following the loss.
Locker Room Video (Tomas Vokoun, Mike Knuble, Alex Ovechkin, Karl Alzner)
Dale Hunter Press Conference Video
Dale Hunter Postgame Audio
Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio
Karl Alzner Postgame Audio
Mike Knuble Postgame Audio
Jeff Halpern Postgame Audio
Troy Brouwer Postgame Audio
Tomas Vokoun Postgame Audio