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Flyers Head Into The All Star Break With A Big Win Over The Caps

Flyers 4, Caps 3 (OT) | (21-18-8)

Sean Couturier was out for the 3rd straight game. Mason was sitting out with a lower-body injury which left Jason LaBarbera to back up Michal Neuvirth who was making his 2nd straight start. RJ Umberger is still in the lineup for some reason. And they were going up against the current best team in the league Washington Capitals. It was a game that the Philadelphia Flyers had absolutely no business winning… which of course meant that they pulled through and got their first win in 4 games. A huge 2 points heading into the All Star Break that still keeps this team in limbo in terms of playoff contention instead of completely out of the picture. A win that this team can build on moving forward as long as they get everybody healthy after the break.

Great Start For The Boys

Stop me if you heard this one before. Tom Wilson takes an unneccessary penalty for being an asshole, puts his team in a bad position as opposing team goes on the powerplay, opposing team scores on ensuing powerplay all because Tom Wilson is an idiot? Okay, so I know that’s the oldest joke in the book but it happened again last night as Brayden Schenn put the Flyers on the board first. Now I’ll admit that Philly definitely had the edge since Washington had not played in a game in 8 days, but there’s no excuse for the best team in the league to give up a goal like this one to Ryan White. No excuse at all.

If there’s one thing that Kuznetsov loves more than anything, it’s that backhand pass from behind the net to the slot. It’s just that usually he pulls it off in the offensive zone and somebody like Burakovsky is there to stash it home. Unfortunately for Kuzy, he forgot what color jersey he was wearing and set up Ryan White for the goal instead. Terrible turnover, great one-timer from White and the Flyers were able to take a nice 2-0 lead into the locker room after 1. But obviously you knew the Caps would climb their way back in this one and ended up tying the game at 2 early in the 2nd.

Michal Neuvirth. Pretty Good At Hockey

This has been a trend the entire season so far. All year long, Michal Neuvirth has been the best back up in the NHL. Definitely difficult for any goaltender to go up against the type of firepower the Capitals are working with, and especially when you’re making your first start back at the Verizon Center after being a Cap for multiple years. The thing is just that I still don’t trust Neuvirth as a starter. Still think he gets worse with the amount of games he plays in a row. But I love what he’s been able to do so far this year and he’s played well enough to turn into a very valuable asset whether he gets dealt at the deadline or dealt at the draft or whenever. The Neuvirth signing is going to end up as a very savvy investment for the Flyers one way or another.

2nd Periods Still An Issue

The Flyers went nearly 14 full minutes in the 2nd period without registering a shot. It’s been, by far, the worst period for the Flyers game after game, and they were fortunate enough to still get out of this one with a 1-goal lead. If the Flyers ever want to be a team who can actually go on some sort of a run, they need to learn how to put together a full 60 minutes on a consistent basic. I realize that’s about as cliche as it gets but cliches don’t just come from nowhere. You can’t expect to let a team like Washington get themselves back in the game in the 2nd period and then not end up paying the price for it in the end. It worked out well enough for the Flyers last night, but they’re playing with fire in these 2nd’s.

Radko Gudas Is Gonna End Up Making Me Love Him, Isn’t He?

Thought Radko has one of his better games of the year last night. He had a few hits here and there but he actually broke up a few breaks with just sound, positional defense. It’s games like last night that you can see some actual potential in the kid and not just a goon who loves to throw the body around. I don’t trust him worth shit with the puck on his stick but his breakout passes all seemed fine last night. The less the puck is on his stick and the more controlled he plays in his own zone, the better. But definitely stick taps to Radko last night. On the opposite end of the spectrum…

God Dam You, RJ Umberger

It baffles me every single game that RJ Umberger is still in the lineup. It’s getting to the point where it’s making me physically sick. If that is ANYBODY on the ice besides Bumberger, the Flyers take a 3-0 lead at the end of the 1st and it totally changes the complexion of the game. But because Bumberger, he doesn’t have the confidence to just pull the trigger right away on that puck and gives the best (healthy) goaltender in the league right now enough time to get post-to-post. Umberger brings nothing to the table. If you’re gonna say he brings experience to the locker room, that’s bullshit because just being old doesn’t give you valuable experience. It just means you’ve been around the block for a while. He serves no purpose and I go to bed praying every night that he’s in the press box for the next game. Now let’s watch that Voracek OT goal one more time to get the stink of Umberger out of here.

Voracek has a very large hockey ass. And he knows how to use said very large hockey ass to his advantage. His lower body strength is ridiculous and that finish was a thing of beauty. Power, puck protection, precision placement. Can’t get enough of that. So now the Flyers head into the All Star Game with a little life in the locker room. Things were getting scary there on that 3-game skid but the next 35 games should still be exciting. Speaking of that…

The Caps also have 35 more games to play after the All Star Break. Which is the most in the league. So think about it. They have the most games to play in the league in such a short amount of time. They already play Braden Holtby enough as is. That 8-day break must have been nice but he’s going to be a busy busy man between the pipes for the rest of the season. Unless they start to sit him a little more once they’re in a comfortable playoff spot, I don’t see how all this doesn’t eventually catch up to him. I know he’s a freak, but let’s see what late May Braden Holtby looks like compared to 8-days rested January 27th Braden Holtby.