The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers are facing off today in Philadelphia for Game Six with the Capitals leading the series 3 games to 2. The Caps opened the series with a 3-0 lead but have struggled to score since former Caps goal tender, Michal Neuvirth took over for Steve Mason in Game 4. Braden Holtby will face Michal Neuvirth today.
Mike Richards had an excellent back hand scoring opportunity above the 15 minute mark, stuffed by Neuvirth. Both teams have opened the game hitting hard, a carry over from previous series games. The Caps and Flyers hit the half way mark of the first period scoreless. Caps are out shooting the Flyers 5-1. After some strong puck possession by Philadelphia, it has to be a bit concerning that Caps are missing open passes. With 720 remaining in the opening period, the game is still scoreless. The Caps will be getting the first power play opportunity on a Philadelphia hooking penalty. Caps held scoreless on the first power play of the game. Alex Ovechkin had two shots on the first man advantage. With three minutes remaining, shots on goal are 9-5 for the Caps. The Caps will go to their second power play with 1:47 left in the period on slashing call. The Flyers commit a second penalty on high stick, giving the Caps a 2 man advantage for the final 56 second son the opening period. Caps get shots, but fail to execute as Neuvy continues effective play in net for Philadelphia.
END OF THE PERIOD SCORE: CAPS 0 Flyers 0
The second period is underway with a Caps power play. Caps waste more power play opportunities and go back to five on five. Caps are 0-3 on the man advantage. The Caps high stick and will face their first penalty kill of the game. The penalty stand despite the high stick hit coming from a Philadelphia Flyer. Caps now commit a second penalty and will go to a 5-3 kill. Things are not going well early in the second period. Refs appear to be evening up power play opportunities. Braden Holtby solid thus far with two excellent saves. Caps kill the two man and have another two minutes to kill. Now Philadelphia gets a penalty and we will head to four on four for 1:30. The Caps move to a brief 29 second power play. Another Caps power play killed off. GOAL!!! Nicklas Backstrom strikes on a feed from Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson to give the Caps a 1-0 lead. Backstroke went top shelf, something the Capitals have not been doing on Neuvirth. Midway through the middle period, score remains 1-0 for the Caps. At the 3:27 mark, shots favor the Caps 20-12. Hotly makes nice glove grab from the Flyers blue line. The middle period ends with a 1-0 lead for the Caps from a Nicklas Backstroke goal.
END OF SECOND PERIOD: CAPS 1 Flyers 0
Caps will head to their fifth power play of the game on a hook. They are 0-4 in this game thus far. The Caps will go to 0-5 on the power play. Holtby made an alert save that had the puck deflecting off the stick of Karl Alzner on a deflection. The Caps maintain their 1-0 lead at the half way mark of the final period. Matt Niskanen drives a bomb to Neuvirth, which was turned away. Hotly makes a terrific save to save the Capitals off the face-off. Flyers are getting shows on net last in the final period. Washington’s defense needs to tighten up. With 4:40 left int he game, Flyers iced the puck. TV break at the 3:30 mark. Caps hanging on, but Flyers getting more aggressive with shots. Neuvirth leaves for an empty net. Caps ice the puck as Mike Richards just misses the empty net. Holtby makes a fantastic save. Caps ice the puck again. 52 second left in the game.
What a fabulous game by Braden Holtby who pitches the critical shutout in Game Six!
CAPITALS ADVANCE INT HE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS!
On to the Pittsburgh Penguins.