Flyers Force Game 6 With Improbable Win Over Capitals


WASHINGTON - Barry Trotz talked about the hockey gods.

"People think I'm crazy," the Capitals' head coach said with a smile.

After Friday night, it didn't sound so bizarre.

That's how unfathomable Game 5 was at the Verizon Center that saw the Flyers inconceivably come away with a 2-0 win over the Capitals (see Instant Replay).

And, beautifully coinciding with the madness, the Flyers come back to Philadelphia with another game to play - Game 6 on Sunday, trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven first-round playoff series that looked over after Game 3.

"Here we are," Jakub Voracek said. "Going back home and no one expected it."

Even more so now.

Following a Game 4 win to avoid being swept on home ice, the Flyers looked far inferior in Game 5 (except for a dominant Michal Neuvirth).

They were outshot, 44-11. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the Flyers' fewest shots on goal during a game - playoffs or regular season - in franchise history, as well as their largest shot differential against in team playoff history.

In total shot attempts, the Capitals had 82 to the Flyers' 27.

At one point, the Flyers, who went 0 for 6 on the power play, went 16:50 without a shot on goal.

Washington dictated all terms - except the skate of its own Taylor Chorney and, ultimately, the scoreboard.

"This is the time of year where it doesn't matter how you get it done," Ryan White said. "You've just got to get it done."

As a Flyers power play expired nearly eight minutes into the second period, Sam Gagner shot into traffic. The puck never reached the net, but it found White. Instead of the Flyers' forward directing a shot on Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, White unintentionally ricocheted the puck off Chorney's foot and into the net for a 1-0 lead and what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

"I was just trying to put it in myself and it went off his skate," White said. "Like I said, it doesn't matter how you do it. I'm sure nobody's going to ask me tomorrow."

Holtby, the goalie that's stopped just about everything and anything this series, never had a chance. After all, it wasn't meant to happen.

"They got a little bit of a lucky goal," Trotz said. "You put the puck to the net, sometimes it goes in. I think it went off Chorney's toe and went in.

"They came in here and got a goal and it doesn't matter how they got it. They got one and we didn't get any.

"We play like that next game, we should be fine."

All series, the Flyers wanted one to go their way. This time it did before Chris VandeVelde put the game on ice with an empty-netter.

"Yeah, we got a good bounce off a skate," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. "But [White] gets full credit for a good play and a hard play on that goal."

With the bounce came the Capitals' onrush. Washington, not wanting a Game 6 and the building pressure at the Wells Fargo Center, showed its urgency. The Capitals came from all angles and never let up.

Fortunately for the Flyers, they had Neuvirth - their surest bet Friday night by a landslide.

"I'm not too sure what to say about Neuvy," Claude Giroux said. "That was pretty cool."

The 28-year-old, who helped the Flyers force this Game 5, made 44 saves, 30 in the first two periods (see story). Quickly after White scored, Neuvirth converted five saves in a minute and a half when it looked like the Capitals were ready to answer.

"We've been on the other end of games like that," Hakstol said. "Neuvy was our best player tonight but everybody jumped on board and battled alongside with him.

"The goaltender was outstanding."

He's made this a series again.

"We're just playing Game 7 every night," White said. "We've been doing it for a while, we didn't have our best games here at the start of the series and they definitely found some wins in there. But I still felt we were right there with them."

Believe it or not, the Flyers are much closer now.

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