The Caps took Game 1 in their series with the Philadelphia Flyers with a 2-0 win in a penalty-filled affair. Here are the details:
How it happened: John Carlson drew first blood in the second period as his slap shot from the blue line was deflected off the stick of Chris Vandevelde and the bouncing puck beat Steve Mason. Braden Holtby did the rest with 19 saves and Jay Beagle put the finishing touch with a late goal in the third.
What it means: After clinching the Presidents' Trophy in March, the Caps have been playing essentially meaningless games for the past two weeks of the season. A lot of the talk surrounding the Caps heading into the postseason was whether they would be able to "flip the switch" in the postseason against a team that has been fighting for its playoff life for much of the season. Those questions were answered Thursday as the Caps came out ready to play and now hold a 1-0 series lead.
Not swallowing the whistles: We usually see fewere penalties in the playoffs, but that as not the case on Thursday as the Caps and Flyers combined for 36 PIMs for the game.
Killer instinct: The Capitals took three penalties in the first period, two by Brooks Orpik, but were able to kill all three to keep the game scoreless. For the game, the Caps were able to kill all four power plays they faced. While everyone knows just how dangerous Washington is on the power play, it can be easy to overlook the penalty kill. The Caps finished the regular season with the second best penalty kill in he NHL with a kill rate of 85.2 percent.
Double trouble: The Caps had their own power play issues when the calls finally stared to go their way. Leading 1-0 in the third period, Sam Gagner was given a double minor on a high-sticking penalty to Brooks Orpik. The Caps were unable to extend their lead despite the four minutes of power play time. For the game, the Caps went only 1 for 6 on the power play.
Holtbeast: Holtby entered the game with the best save percentage in playoff history (.936) and he was as good as advertised with Thursday with 19 saves for the shutout.
Injury scare for Philly: Playoff series can take their toll and it may already have for the Flyers. Philadelphia forward Sean Couturier took a heavy hit from Alex Ovechkin along the boards in the second period and came up favoring his left arm/shoulder. He immediately went to the locker room and did not return. According to the Flyers, he will be re-evaluated tomorrow for an "upper-body injury."
What's next: The Caps will look to extend their lead to two games and maintain home-ice advantage on Saturday as the two teams return to Verizon Center for Game 2. The puck drops at 7 p.m.