Coming into Tuesday night, the Flyers were a win shy of taking first place in the Metro for longer that 18 minutes. The Capitals lost to Buffalo in the shootout on Monday, so the Flyers sat just one point out of first. Was I nervous that they were going up against the best team in the league? Absolutely. Did I still think they could pull this one out? Again, absolutely. Of course the numbers behind the nine game streak were nice, but the Flyers played better than the numbers showed for the most part. For most of the game Tuesday, that seemed like that would continue.
I was talking with my roommate while watching the game and said that I had never seen a team dominate so much in a 0-0 hockey game. The Flyers were hounding pucks, aggressively challenging the opposition to cause turnovers or break down plays, and just overall playing really smart hockey. They even generated three shorthanded odd-man rushes in the second period alone.
The one issue was that while there were plenty of chances being generated, they weren’t quite getting quality shots on goal. Plenty of times a quality chance was wasted because of just poor puck luck or a bad decision, like Scott Laughton passing on that 2-on-1. That being said, I have to give Tuukka Rask some serious credit here. When the Flyers did get good SOGs, Rask made some phenomenal saves. Can’t imagine a better birthday present than shutting out the hottest team in the league. Props too Rask, he’s a guaranteed Vezina finalist.
Basically all it took for this game to completely change was a goal from Matt Grzeclyk that Carter Hart couldn’t even see. You could sense it in the Flyers that after that goal, the air had been let out of the team and it would be tough to get it back. Afterwards, it was a much more even game, and Boston will win even games more often than not. That being said, the Bruins are the best in the league for a reason so the fact that the Flyers played as well as they did for almost two full periods is something to feel good about. Looking back, the Flyers are still 9-1-0 in their last 10, and I’m pretty sure most fanbases would be happy with that. It is Philly, though, so I’m expecting to see #FireAV here in a minute.
Next up for the Flyers is another difficult opponent in Tampa on Thursday. Washington will be playing Detroit at the same time, which is a guaranteed win for the Caps (sorry Wings fans). The Flyers will have to win on Thursday to not fall 3 points back from first. There’s still plenty of hockey left in the year, and the boys need to stay hot.