Five key Flyers to Wearing Down Capitals Mentally in 1st Round

A collective cheer was heard through the Philadelphia region as the Philadelphia Flyers clinched a playoff spot on April 9 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers are in the race for the Stanley Cup.

In the first round of the playoffs, they are to face the top team in the conference, the Washington Capitals.

It will be an exciting match of Claude Giroux’s scrappy underdogs versus Alex Ovechkin and his President Trophy winning elites.

Washington is the best team in the NHL with the likes of Ovechkin, Jason Chimera, T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby. It will be a gritty, fast, physical series, one that can take a toll on a team mentally.

That is the Flyers key to the series, wearing down the Capitals in mind as well as in body. 

The Flyers can win this series if they not only outplay the Capitals, but wear them down mentally. They were playing all season long for their beloved ailing leader, Ed Snider, but now, with his passing, these underdogs have unrivaled determination. They ended the regular season with a 23-game stretch of 15-6-2. They are committed, and now the Capitals should be nervous, having locked their playoff spot months in advance.

Here are the Flyers to watch, that can take the Capitals down with a psychological approach in the series.

Claude Giroux - Giroux is the captain. He has shielded negative comments all season long about the team’s inconsistency. He is as emotional as any player entering the playoffs. He is ready to lead his team and capable of surviving the bodily play of the Capitals.

Wayne Simmonds - It is no surprise that Simmonds is an emotional player. After Philadelphia won the game against Pittsburgh to clinch the playoffs the camera caught him banging his stick in elation. He brings this passion to the ice. When Simmonds has his head in the game like this, he simply plays better. One of the key points to Simmonds play is working in front of the net. He will need to do his job if the Flyers are to unravel Holtby.

Steve Mason - If Steve Mason can stay "stone cold" and not get distraught himself, it will be difficult to get a puck past him. He needs to stay focused and keep an eye out, with the help of Flyer defense, for Ovechkin standing in his office at the top of the circle waiting for a puck feed to slam his infamous one-timer past Mason.

Radko Gudas - The Washington Capitals are going to hit the ice fast and physical. Gudas will need to be ready to protect his zone. With the predictable play of such Capitals like Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik, Gudas will give it right back to them and beat them at their own game.

Sam Gagner - This underdog will need to step up for his underdog team. This will be the first time Gagner has played in a playoff series. Since the creation of a new line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, Gagner has been an asset to the team. Washington will not be looking for him as a premier player and goal-scorer, but he has the talent to hurt a team with speed and skill.

Denise Mroz is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow her on Twitter @denisemroz10.

Go to top button