Ray Emery fights Braden Holtby in the third period of Friday's loss to Washington. Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com
Joel Ward scored a hat trick Friday, while five other Capitals recorded multiple points as the Capitals blanked the Flyers 7-0 in a game largely shadowed by a third-period line brawl.
The Orange and Black held control of the game throughout its first 15 minutes, holding Washington without a shot on goal. But with 2:31 on the clock in the first, a Nicklas Backstrom slap shot from the faceoff circle made it a 1-0 game -- Washington's second shot on net.
“We played a good first period, and then we just weren’t focused,” captain Claude Giroux said. “We just didn’t play our game.”
The Capitals carried the momentum into the second period, as Ward, Jason Chimera and Backstrom all scored within the period's first four minutes to make it a 4-0 game, chasing starter Steve Mason out of the net in favor of Ray Emery. Two more goals by Ward and Troy Brouwer put the game out of reach, with the Wells Fargo Center crowd expressing their thoughts of GM Paul Holmgren with chants of "Paul Must Go" and "Fire Holmgren."
“I can’t blame the fans – we’re as rustrated as they are,” Holmgren said. “If I was sitting in the stands, I’m not sure I’d be chanting, but I might be thinking the same thing.”
Holmgren addressed the team in the locker room during the second intermission; however, no comment was available as to what was said.
Ward sealed his hat trick 5:24 into the third period, and seven seconds later came the aforementioned brawl. Two hits by Wayne Simmonds on Steve Oleksy and Tom Wilson set the stage for the opening fight. Wilson, taking exception to Simmonds’ hits, dropped the gloves.
As Simmonds and Wilson tangled up, Ray Emery dashed down the length of the ice in pursuit of Braden Holtby, who was less-than-willing to go. That did not stop Emery from his first fight since 2007.
“He didn’t want to fight; I said basically ‘protect yourself,’” Emery said. “He didn’t have much of a choice.
Brayden Schenn tangled up with Alexander Urbom, and both received game misconduct penalties in addition to their five minute majors. Vinny Lecavalier and Oleksy were handed similar rulings, with Lecavalier suffering a facial injury that will keep him out of Saturday’s game.
“When you’re getting slapped around like that, it’s a response,” Holmgren said. “Do I have an issue with it? Probably not. It’s a response.”
Lecavalier was not the only Flyer to leave the game after a fight - Steve Downie left after sustaining a concussion against Aaron Volpatti in the second period, and was ambulanced to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to undergo further testing.
The loss drops the Flyers to 3-9 on the season, with their next game being Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, N.J. Coach Craig Berube insists the team forget about Friday’s loss and take their frustration out on the Devils.
“Everybody’s been involved in these games before, they’re not fun obviously,” Berube said. “But you can’t sit there and dwell on it – you gotta go play a game tomorrow.”