Flyers' Offense Silent as Season Ends With Game 6 Loss to Capitals


Shayne Gostisbehere dropped to one knee. Claude Giroux, not far from him, bent over with his eyes looking at nothing but the ice.

Players weren't sure what to do. For the first time all year, there was nothing left to give - the season was over and the exhaustion unveiled.

"The last two months, we gave it everything we had," Giroux said. "It's obviously frustrating to be out here right now."

Just when it looked like the Flyers would turn this series completely upside down for a Game 7 nobody envisioned, that idea came to a halt at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon.

After sneaking into the Stanley Cup Playoffs and making an all-but-certain sweep into a series, the eighth-seeded Flyers finally bowed out, losing to the NHL-best Capitals, 1-0, and dropping their best-of-seven first-round playoff series in six games (see Instant Replay).

"We belong here," Gostisbehere said. "I think we showed some people that, yeah, we went down 3-0 but we jumped back with two straight wins. We know we're a good team and we're building on it for next year."

That was the distinction on the ice Sunday - and the entire series, for that matter.

On one side, a team stocked with talent spearheaded by the NHL's leading goal scorer and arguably best goalie, is all about the now and what can be in early June.

On the other side was a team not quite there yet.

"Washington, they're a big, strong team that was pretty much built to win and are built to win," Brayden Schenn said. "They gave us a tough fight, and that's all there is to it."

To the Flyers' credit, they punched back. The Capitals hadn't lost consecutive games in regulation all season long until the Flyers pulled off the feat with victories in Games 4 and 5, putting a scare into the Washington faithful.

"They've got a great future," Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said. "Got some young stars, some quality veterans. Coming into this series, I probably looked at it like it was going to be a long series. It wasn't going to be four and out. When we got to 3-0, we were a little surprised ourselves."

Somehow, the Flyers budged their way to a Game 6 on home ice with the belief of an unprecedented upset strengthening. But in order to beat Washington, the Flyers had to do more.

Michal Neuvirth was able to trump the Flyers' offensive deficiencies in Game 5 by playing out of his mind, making 44 saves for a historic shutout win.

He was marvelous again Sunday, but all Washington needed was one goal to win with the Flyers stuck in their current slog. The Capitals got it when Alex Ovechkin made a play not many can make.

Skating with the puck near the blue line, the 239-pound Ovechkin bounced off of burly Radko Gudas to create space for a pass to an uncovered Marcus Johansson. With Ovechkin's breakdown of the defense, the Flyers were scrambling. Johansson quickly fed Nicklas Backstrom wide open in the circle, where he rocketed a one-timer top shelf at 8:59 of the second period.

"Yeah, it was a three-on-two and a good pass and an unbelievable shot," Neuvirth said. "I don't think I could have stopped it."

This came after the Flyers went on a four-minute power play, half of which was a full two-man advantage. However, playing to the tune of the series, the Flyers couldn't score (see story).

"Try to shoot it, we had a couple good looks," Jakub Voracek said. "It's hard for me judge right now, we just lost the season.

"Obviously, the power play was a big problem this series."

The power play once again went into hiding, going 0 for 3 Sunday to finish 1 for 24 in the series and four for its last 41, including the regular season.

"I think when you look back at the playoffs and we lost in this series here, it's always kind of momentum, small things making the difference," Flyers defenseman Mark Streit said. "Obviously special teams was a big part of it."

So was the Flyers' big boys never finding their rhythm to counterattack the Capitals' high-powered offense. Giroux (one assist), Voracek (one goal) and Wayne Simmonds (two assists) combined for just four points in the series.

Backstrom (seven points), Ovechkin (five points), Johansson (six points) and John Carlson (six points) each produced more.

"For me, it's obviously unfortunate that we didn't win, but it's what you take out of it," Simmonds said. "We didn't win and obviously we're satisfied and we're not satisfied. We know we can be better and I think this will be a learning experience for the group in here."

The Flyers now look to the offseason and see where it takes them before 2016-17 rolls around.

"I don't think much has to change," Gostisbehere said. "We've got a great foundation here."

But it's not there yet.

"Playoffs are a whole other animal," Schenn said.

"I think we took a step forward this year. I still think we've got a long way to go."

Copyright CSNPhily
Contact Us