Flyers-Capitals: Game 4 Postgame Perspective

New additions, special teams provide spark for Flyers


Kate Frese/Flyerdelphia

They struck early again. Not quite 57 seconds early, but 5:51 will suffice for a quick enough start. It came with a power play goal.

Finally, the Flyers were on the right side of the special teams battle. They stayed on the right side all night. And with the help of Michal Neuvirth in goal, they never looked back.

There will be a Game 5 in Washington thanks to the Flyers gutsy performance on Wednesday night, particularly by their goaltender, after coming out on the right end of Game 4 against the Capitals.

A win like this is interesting. The Flyers spent the entire third period pretty much holding on for dear life, both in the game and in their season. They barely made it through, as Neuvirth made 31 saves, including 12 in the third period.

The Flyers really did about as well of a job as you could ask defensively for the first two periods. Washington's chances were limited. The Flyers didn't have many chances either, but cashed in on two, one being Shayne Gostisbehere's power-play goal in the first.

Defenseman Andrew MacDonald netted the second goal.

You can really credit the Capitals a lot for the complete shutdown of Flyers chances in the third. There were essentially none to speak of. But give the Flyers defensemen a lot of credit in the final period as well. For as pinned in as the Flyers were for much of the third, they did a modestly good job of keeping the puck out of high-quality scoring areas.

Yes, Neuvirth saved some tough shots in the third, but his night was quiet for the first two periods because the Flyers didn't allow much to test him early.

A ton of credit should go to Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and Colin McDonald. On a night when the Flyers had to play so much of the game with 11 forwards, as Scott Laughton had to leave the game on a stretcher in a scary scene, these three really pushed the forecheck early and made positioning in the defensive zone a challenge all night.

If the Flyers didn't lose Laughton from this game, there would have likely been a decision to make on McDonald for Game 5. He earned a spot there for sure. With Laughton likely out and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare returning from suspension, there shouldn't be many changes to the lineup.

McDonald played a vital role on the penalty kill as well. Two nights after watching the Capitals go 5-for-9 on the power play, the Flyers played a disciplined game and succeeded on the penalty kill, holding Washington off the board in an 0-for-2 night.

Guts, grit, determination, strength and a will to go the extra mile to keep the season alive. The Flyers are a laboring team that still is clinging to the final days of the season, but they at least get one more game and can hang their hats on one win.

It was the type of win that would have made Ed Snider proud, coming just after one of the darker games in Flyers history for a number of reasons on Monday night.

It just happened to be a win that keeps the Flyers season going another couple of days longer.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso

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