The 0-2 hole the Flyers face as the first-round series shifts to Philadelphia on Monday is not the only obstacle. In addition to the uphill climb, the Flyers need to find a way to reverse the trend of the Capitals dominating them in every facet of the game.
And we mean, every facet – offense, defense, goaltending and special teams. When looking back at the first two games, consider:
- The Capitals are 3-for-8 on the power play and conversely have killed all eight Flyer power plays, including a 5-on-3 in the first period on Saturday night.
- The Flyers have just one goal in the series.
- Capitals goalie Braden Holtby has looked every bit the Vezina Trophy favorite through the first 120 minutes, especially with his 41 saves in Game 2 on Saturday.
- Flyers forward and defensive stalwart Sean Couturier is out for the series with a shoulder injury.
- And probably the worst numbers – teams have trailed 0-2 a total of 291 times in NHL history and have come back to win the series 37 times or 12.7 percent of the time, according nhl.com.
“I’m not too sure what to say, to be honest,” Captain Claude Giroux told reporters after Saturday’s loss. “I think we played a good game, but at the end of the day we need to win the game.”
Despite their dire situation, the Flyers can point to positives such as they were 23-10-8 at the Wells Fargo Center this season and the Capitals are just 4-6 when taking a 2-0 series lead.
Even though they will have the fans on their side and a Washington team with a checkered postseason past, it’s no secret that the special teams has been and will continue to be the difference. The Flyers, who looked much improved on the power play on Saturday over last Thursday, need to cash in with the man-advantage.
It shouldn’t need to be stated, but the Flyers must keep a better eye on Alex Ovechkin, who was left all alone on his power-play goal on Saturday that extended the Flyers’ deficit to 3-1 late in the second period.
“I thought our power play was pretty good tonight,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “I don’t know, you can go back and count the number of opportunities we had, but their goaltender was a little bit better so I guess we have to be a little bit better.”
They will likely have to be a lot better in all areas if they want to win both games in Philly and climb back into the series.
“We’re going to go home, and we fully intend to take the next two games,” Wayne Simmonds said. “We’re confident in one another, and we’ve done it all year.”