After their 5-0 shutout at the hands of the Atlanta Thrashers, the Washington Capitals hoped respond Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers with a much better effort. They got it, but the improved play didn’t lead to a different result for the Caps, though – the Flyers matched Washington’s intensity all night and prevailed after a shootout, 5-4.
Despite the shootout loss, the Caps battled much better than they did on Friday against Atlanta and looked much more like a team that could compete for a Stanley Cup.
“Both teams were coming off games that they probably didn’t feel very good about themselves,” Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I think two very proud teams wanted to get back and show that they could play.”
The Capitals showed that they came to play early, getting on the board first with a goal by rookie center Marcus Johansson, who had yet to find his groove since returning from a foot injury.
“It’s always good to get a goal,” said Johansson. “It felt good; it’s been a while since last time. It’s good to get going and hopefully it’ll be a little easier.”
Johansson also had what Boudreau called his best game of the season, creating multiple chances on offense all game long. The Flyers, though, responded to his goal with three goals of their own, but the Caps came back twice to send the game to overtime before ultimately falling in a shootout.
“I think this is the perfect team for us to play right now,” said Capitals winger Eric Fehr. “We had a brutal game last night and we came right back against one of the top teams in the league. I thought we played pretty well and deserved a better fate.”
They could not get the two points, but they had a much better start and kept up the pressure for the entire 60 minutes.
“I thought all game we had good chances,” Boudreau said. “I was a little worried after the first period when it was only 1-0 because we didn’t get rewarded for having three two-on-ones, two breakaways; those are the kind of times that you put teams away and when you let them hang around something usually happens.”
Monday night the team will travel to New Jersey, where they’ll try to build off Saturday and turn their 2-game losing streak around.
“It feels better and better,” Johansson said. “Today I felt better than the start and it’s just unlucky we didn’t get two points, but I think we struggled hard and we fought for it. I think we played a good game.”