Some Flyers called Tuesday’s performance against the shorthanded Washington Capitals their best in the last two months.
The Flyers outhit the Capitals, 29-17. They outshot them, 33-23, and they won 56 percent of the faceoffs.
The numbers aside, the Flyers had their cycle working better than it has in at least a month. They spent most of the night in the Capitals’ end, and they played solidly for all 65 minutes.
Maybe that’s why the players and coach Peter Laviolette were so pleased after the game, after their first-place lead in the Eastern Conference had dwindled to one point.
It was a playoff atmosphere in the Wells Fargo Center, where the Flyers lost in a shootout, 5-4.
“It was pretty close to a complete game,” captain Mike Richards said. “There was a lot of positive in that game. A lot of good things happened, so honestly I was happy with the whole game.”
Except the goaltending.
Most of the players kept alluding to the “bad bounces” that plagued the team.
They were being kind. That was codespeak for: The goalies didn’t do the job.
The Flyers faced a 3-0 deficit that sent goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to the bench. They scored four straight goals and took a 4-3 lead on Danny Briere’s tip-in with 5:45 left in regulation.
But they allowed a late goal and lost in the shootout as Washington was successful on all three of its shots.
Bobrovsky was shaky in his 21:22 of action (three goals on nine shots); Brian Boucher was shaky in the shootout (three goals on three shots).
Asked if Boucher would get some starts because of Bobrovsky’s performance Tuesday, coach Peter Laviolette said, “I’ll probably address that in a day or two.”
That probably means “yes.”
Richards downplayed the three goals allowed by Bobrovsky in a little over a period.
“It happens. It’s going to happen throughout the course of the season,” he said. “He played unbelievable for us in Dallas and he won us that hockey game. He had a couple bad bounces tonight. I’ve had a number of bad games this year. He had little bit of a tough one tonight, and I think he wishes he could take a couple back. But tomorrow is a new day and we have confidence in him.”
The Flyers have 10 games left in the regular season. Ten games to nail down the conference title.
And, more importantly, 10 games to get their goaltending situation in order.
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Andrej Meszaros played a season-high 29 minutes and took 10 shots while blocking five and recording six hits. You could make a strong case for him being the Flyers’ top defenseman this season.
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Breakaways. Andreas Nodl had a goal, an assist and four hits in arguably the best game of his career. Nodl and Matt Carle were each plus-3….The Flyers are one point ahead of the second-place Caps and have two games in hand…Before Tuesday, Boucher had stopped 12 of 17 in shootouts this season…Despite the loss, the Flyers have picked up points in seven straight games (4-0-3).....The Flyers were 0 for 3 on the PP and are 1 for 15 against the Caps this season. Washington was 1 for 2......The Penguins visit the WFC on Thursday.
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Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.
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