Welcome to the Pod Street Postgame! The Flyers were looking to put the Bruins series behind them, slated to take the ice on a snowy Superbowl Sunday matinee in Washington D.C. Both the Flyers and the Capitals got some much needed added depth to their rosters with the activations of Sean Couturier and Lars Eller. Carter Hart was back in the lineup after dealing with back spasms in the morning skate on Friday and the Capitals started rookie Vitek Vanecek.
The Capitals took a 1-0 lead on a powerplay goal by none other than Alexander Ovechkin just past the halfway point of the first period. With the period coming down to the final minutes, the Capitals took a 2-0 lead off of a beautiful play from Ovechkin to give Tom Wilson an empty net slam dunk. Scott Laughton was rewarded with an empty net slam dunk with just 1:27 left to erase the two-goal deficit.
At the start of the second period, the Flyers kept grinding against the Capitals and were once again rewarded with another gritty goal. Once again, Scott Laughton potted his second goal of the game to erase the lead of the Capitals. In true Alexander Ovechkin fashion, he launched a rocket from the point that squeezed past Carter Hart to reclaim the lead for the Capitals. Minutes later after Washington took the lead, Robert Hagg sent a rocket of his own past Vanecek to make this an even goal game once again. With three and a half minutes to go, James van Riemsdyk ripped a wrist shot past Vanecek to give the Flyers their first lead of the game.
Vanecek would be replaced by veteran goaltender Craig Andersen after the JvR goal late in the second period. With less than a minute to go in the second, Niklas Backstrom was given a beautiful pass by Ovechkin and dangled Hart out of his pants to once again create an even goal game heading into the third period.
In the opening minute of the third period, Sean Couturier made his return to the lineup known as he potted his first goal of the season to take the lead early. The Flyers would go on to score two more goals in the final two minutes of the game. Scott Laughton completed his hattrick and Couturier scored the empty netter to seal the deal with a final score of 7-4. Let’s get to the three observations of the Pod Street Postgame.
Flyers Need a Tom Wilson
Tom Wilson for the Capitals is a player that is always noticeable on the ice. Whether he is creating scoring chances, scoring goals or laying hits, you can’t miss Tom Wilson while he is on the ice. Coming in at 6′ 4″ and weighing 200 pounds, Wilson is a player that brings a whole different dynamic to a team. Tom Wilson finished this game off with a goal and three assists.
The Flyers haven’t had a player like Tom Wilson since they traded Wayne Simmonds at the trade deadline in 2019. Much like Simmonds, Wilson is never afraid to lay a big hit and he won’t back down from dropping the gloves. In at least one shift during today’s game, Wilson had three hits and at least one shot on goal. Who on the Flyers is doing that type of work?
Adding a player that has the physical play and grit of Tom Wilson would help this team significantly. The Flyers do not have a player that teams are afraid of when they touch the puck. The Broad Street Bullies are starting to lose their “rep” and need to find someone that will bring that physical play back to the Orange and Black lineup. Sorry, Nicolas Aube-Kubel is not going to do it for the Flyers.
The Third Line Produces
James van Riemsdyk, Scott Laughton and Joel Farabee were firing on all cylinders this afternoon against the Capitals. Between the three, this line combined for eight points. JvR continues to stay red hot as he extends his point streak to seven games.
Scott Laughton tallied his first career hat trick and each goal was a gritty goal. “Sergeant” kept crashing the net and finding the lucky bounces on his stick. The chemistry between this trio boils down to the skating and skating of the entire line. Farabee and van Riemsdyk are now leading the Flyers in points. As fans, we should be excited that the third line is continuing to produce the way they are. It goes to show how much depth the Flyers have throughout the lineup.
It was great to see the 2020 Selke Trophy winning center come back to the lineup for the first time since January 15th, but it appeared that Coots is not 100% ready. Vigneault had Couturier centering the fourth line wingers in Nic Aube-Kubel and Michael Raffl for the most part of the entire game.
You’re absolutely right coach, Coots is a difference maker as he started the third period, Couturier centering Jake Voracek and Michael Raffl. That move rewarded Couturier and AV, as Coots potted his first goal of the season and the eventual game winning goal. Coots would go on to seal the deal even more with the late empty net goal in the third period.
Couturier didn’t see any powerplay time until the third period and AV did not put Coots on the penalty kill whatsoever. While Coots was seeing limited minutes throughout the game, fans saw him get back to his Selke ways on the ice. Disrupting the Capitals’ breakouts and creating chances for his linemates is what Couturier does best. It’s nice to see that goofy front-tooth missing smile, but is Coots absolutely ready to be in this lineup?
Pod Street Postgame Final Thoughts
If you like big scoring hockey games and highlight reel goals, then a Flyers/Capitals game is in store for you. If you’re the betting type, you should have taken the over in this matchup. Both teams were playing a “Never Say Die” mentality type of game, but the Flyers came out on top in the end.
Carter Hart was back to his old tricks, making incredible saves to keep the Flyers within reach of winning this game. Expect to see another hard fought hockey game come Tuesday night when the Flyers once again visit the Capitals in D.C.. Note, the game time has changed from 7 PM to 6 PM so be ready for an early night of hockey! Keep a lookout for the Pod Street Postgame after that game as well here at Pod Street Bullies.
Photo Credit – Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire