The Flyers have had issues with their discipline. Look no further than Wednesday night’s 6-4 victory over the Capitals.
Philadelphia was issued 32 total penalty minutes but gave the Capitals four power play opportunities. To the surprise of no one the Capitals power play, which features the NHL’s leading goal scorer in Alex Ovechkin, made the Flyers pay as they went 3-for-4 on the man advantage.
“Anytime you have Ovechkin out on the ice, you try to focus on him,” said Flyers goaltender Steve Mason. “And when he can shoot the puck just as well as anyone in the league, we cannot keep giving him opportunities on the puck because they are going to take advantage of them.”
Some of the calls were questionable to say the least. Steve Downie was called for elbowing in the third period as Capitals forward Tom Wilson came in for a big hit. The elbow, to the defense of Downie, appeared to be in self-defense but that didn’t matter as Ovechkin would capitalize on the power play.
Shortly after the Flyers took a 5-3 lead in the third period, Mark Streit was whistled for hooking on a seemingly innocent play. Referee Paul Devorski didn’t see it that way and, again, Washington went on the power play and got a goal to cut into the Flyers lead.
Flyers head coach Craig Berube seemed to take issues with some of the calls.
“Yes, penalties… a couple goofy goals,” Berube said after the game. “But penalties… I’m not sure they’re warranted. But that definitely gave them life.”
The power plays most certainly gave the Capitals life as two of their three third-period goals came on the man-advantage.
Despite the unfortunate calls against them on Wednesday night, the Flyers still know that they cannot let power plays be as efficient as Washington’s were in the third period.
“If they score a goal, there’s always something you can do about it,” said Flyers rookie Michael Raffl. “They have an excellent power play with Ovechkin as a shooter and Backstrom just tossing the puck all over the place. It’s tough to defend, but I think we did a better job in Washington so I think we can still do better.”
Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn was a little more direct in his criticism of the penalty kill.
“We [need to] do [a] better job on the [penalty] kill. We need to block a few shots and get into the lanes a little more.”
With the dangerous Toronto Maple Leafs next up for the Flyers, they need to figure out their issue in a hurry.