Mason, Flyers Best Capitals in Shootout
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Flyers-Capitals: Postgame Points

12-21-2016_FlyersvsCaps_3rd_credKateFrese-29

(Kate Frese/Sports Talk Philly)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

After two games out of the win column, the Flyers returned on Wednesday. A 3-2 shootout win over the Washington Capitals marked the Flyers 11th win in their last 13 games.

With just one game left before heading into a holiday break that keeps them off for five days, the Flyers determined effort against one of the Eastern Conference's hottest teams was a good test, and they passed.

Here are 10 Postgame Points from the Flyers win over the Capitals.

  1. As it usually does with a shootout win, this one comes back to Steve Mason. Mason had to be sharp early and he was, but his play down the stretch in the third period and in overtime was tremendous. In the shootout, Mason couldn't stop T.J. Oshie, but he stopped the remaining three chances as the Flyers pulled out a shootout win. Wednesday was Mason's 17th start in 19 games. He's carried the Flyers in goal for nearly six weeks.

  2. One of the reasons the game even got to overtime was because of an excellent play by Andrew MacDonald. With the puck in the crease behind Mason, MacDonald was able to help swat the puck away from danger as time ran out on regulation.

  3. Ivan Provorov's stats on Wednesday were as follows: 23:52 ice time, two shots, one hit, plus-one, two blocked shots. The 19-year-old is the Flyers top defenseman.

  4. Goals late in a period can be momentum changers and can sometimes tell the story of a period. The Flyers were outplayed in the first period, but Washington didn't get on the board until 1:36 remaining. The Flyers played a better second period, got a late bounce and tied the game with 21 seconds left. Timing is everything, and if the Flyers still needed that equalizer in the third, it wouldn't have come easy with Washington trying to lock things down in the final period.

  5. Give the Flyers defense a ton of credit. The two goals were scored by Washington's third line of Andre Burakovsky, Lars Eller and Jakub Vrana. The Capitals fourth line of Jay Beagle, Tom Wilson and Daniel Winnik was also very energetic. But for a large portion of this game, the Flyers completely shut down Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson. They played Washington's top six extremely well.

  6. Wayne Simmonds didn't have a point in the two games the Flyers lost since their 10th straight win came a week ago. He was held without a point on Wednesday as well, but did have the deciding goal in the shootout, and it was a pretty one at that with a nice use of the hands to go to that quick snap shot from in tight.

  7. One of the things that Flyers can credit to keeping Washington at bay: discipline. The Flyers took two penalties in the game. Shayne Gostisbehere was called for a high-sticking penalty on the same play where Justin Williams took a slashing penalty. Washington's only power play came with 1:48 remaining in regulation when Radko Gudas took a hooking penalty. Bad timing, yes, but the Flyers stayed out of the box for the entire game, keeping a dangerous power play off the ice.

  8. The Flyers may have something with Chris VandeVelde, Roman Lyubimov and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare playing together. They are far from a perfect line, but they seem to have good chemistry and are playing with a high energy level.

  9. Michael Del Zotto, Michael Raffl, Radko Gudas and Dale Weise combined for 24 hits. Washington, as a team, had 28 hits in the game.

  10. During their 10-game winning streak, the Flyers never played a Metropolitan Division opponent, but with some confidence added to their game, this was the first chance to see the Flyers against a divisional foe. The Flyers showed last season in the playoffs that they can go toe-to-toe with the Capitals, but had an underwhelming October against divisional opponents. But this is a different team than two months ago and it showed on Wednesday.

Bottom Line

It's late December and the Flyers are now 35 games into their season. They have 20 wins, four coming in the shootout.

This is a team that is embracing a style of play that requires constant energy and attack. They are starting to come around defensively. The offense is still there and continues to be timely. For a change, the Flyers are ahead of the curve when it comes to trying to establish a place in the playoff picture. We've seen what happens when you have to chase a spot all season. The Flyers aren't chasing on right now.

The Flyers have one more game before a stretch of 12 games in 22 days of December comes complete. They can put an exclamation point on a tremendous stretch in New Jersey on Thursday.

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