Philadelphia, PA – The Washington Capitals shutout the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 Sunday afternoon in front of a raucous sell-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center.
Washington Capitals players Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, and Nicklas Backstrom rejoice after Backstrom’s second-period goal.
After winning the first three games of the series in dominant fashion — the Capitals outscored the Flyers 12-1 over this stretch — Washington’s high-octane offense sputtered in Games 4 and 5, amassing just one goal. With the series lead trimmed to 3-2 and the specter of Washington’s past playoff shortcomings looming, the pressure was undeniably cranked up for Washington heading into Game 6.
Fortunately for Washington, netminder Braden Holtby handled the suffocating pressure with aplomb, stonewalling each of Philadelphia’s 26 shots on goal en route to notching his second shutout victory of the series. Overall, Holtby surrendered just six goals in the series, providing the Capitals with the “hot goalie” the club has sorely missed in recent playoff series.
Holtby’s heroics would all be for naught, however, if it were not for Nicklas Backstrom’s second-period goal. Backstrom’s goal came with 11:01 remaining in the second period, with the Capitals skating quickly in transition. Defenseman John Carlson sent a long outlet pass to left-winger Alex Ovechkin, who corralled the puck near the Philadelphia blue line. Ovechkin pivoted right and bounced off a check attempt by Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas before dishing the puck in stride to a cutting Marcus Johansson, who quickly fed Backstrom, who one-timed a rocket into the back of the net.
The Capitals will take on their arch-rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in a second-round playoff series set to begin either Thursday or Saturday night in Washington. The Penguins quickly disposed of the New York Rangers in five games and are arguably the hottest team in hockey.
The Capitals, who won the President’s Trophy this season, went 2-2-1 in five games versus the Penguins this year.
The match-up will mark the first playoff meeting between the two foes since 2009.
Contact Corey Chaconas at firstname.lastname@example.org.