WASHINGTON — Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Flyers won their seventh in a row.
The headline. The Flyers are one point out of first place in the Metro Division. About eight weeks ago, they were 15 points out and fighting for their playoff lives.
J.V. Arrrrgh. There was some bad news. Winger James van Riemsdyk left with a broken right hand after blocking a shot halfway through the first period. Flyers’ coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t immediately sure how long he’ll be out, but Joel Farabee will be called up and put into the lineup for Thursday’s game against Carolina.
Play of the game. Derek Grant’s redirection of Nick Aube-Kubel’s pass to Kevin Hayes for the Flyers’ second goal.
Brian’s song. There was some question as to whether Carter Hart should have started in net, but Brian Elliott did just fine. Moose stopped 25 shots, and admitted afterward it was nice to get back in there after not paying since Feb. 20. “It’s big. You want to be part of things,” said the 34-year-old netminder. “You want to be part of big games. It’s what you play hockey for. It’s what gets the blood going.”
Yo, ref. Capitals thumper Tom Wilson should have gotten an instigator penalty for his first-period fight with Nate Thompson. He was given an extra two minutes, but it was for roughing. The instigator would have carried a 10-minute misconduct. Refs also missed a high-stick by Robert Hagg on Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Even the nerds fought. The Flyers Twitter account lauded Robert Hagg for jumping in and fighting Wilson after Claude Giroux was run at by Wilson late in the second period. They showed a gif of Hagg getting two early lefts in on Wilson. Caps’ Twitter responded by showing the rest of the bout, which was decidedly in Wilson’s favor.
Hollywood’s night. Kevin Hayes had a goal, an assist and was a monster throughout. The Flyers are 18-0-1 when he scores a goal (corrected from 19-0-1).
Kill switch. The Flyers gave the Caps 17 power-plays in four games this season. They killed 16 of them.
O no. In four games this season, Alex Ovechkin did not register a point against the Flyers, was denied on all 10 of his shots on goal and was -4. He came into the season with 59 points in 53 games in his career against the Flyers.
First off. The last 11 Flyers games had gone over 1.5 goals in the first period until Wednesday night. The teams combined for 14 shots on goal, but the Capitals scored the only goal.
Washington’s T.J. Oshie on Wednesday became the 15th player taken in the 2005 draft to play 800 NHL games. It’s a laudable statistic, especially since the 2012-13 season was trimmed to 48 games because of a lockout. It also figures to grow next season with Niklas Hjalmarsson, Patric Hornqvist and Justin Abdelkader having at least 737. But how does it compare?
Since 1990, nine other classes had more than 15 draftees reach 800 games. Here’s some numbers to chew on while waiting to see whether the Flyers can make it eight wins in a row on Thursday.
Players in 2015 draft with 800 GPs (in order): Anze Kopitar, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Andrew Cogliano, Sidney Crosby, Keith Yandle, Matt Niskanen, Paul Stastny, Jack Johnson, Marc Staal, Kris Russell, Bobby Ryan, James Neal, Anton Stralman, Kris Letang, T.J. Oshie.
The Flyers picks from the 2005 draft:
♦ Steve Downie, RW, 29th overall, 434 games, 89 with Flyers
♦ Oskars Bartulis, D, 91st overall, 66 games (all with Flyers)
♦ Jeremy Duchesne, G, 119th overall, 1 game (with Flyers)
♦ Josh Beaulieu, RW, 152nd overall, 0 NHL games
♦ John Flatters, D, 174th overall, 0 NHL games
♦ Matt Clackson, LW, 215th overall, 0 NHL games
Drafts with most players to reach 800 games since 1990:
1993 -- 25 players. Three notables: Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Paul Kariya.
2003 -- 24 players. Three notables: Jeff Carter, Eric Staal, Ryan Getzlaf. Note: Current Flyer Nate Thompson has played in 764.
1998 -- 21 players. Three notables: Pavel Datsyuk, Simon Gagne, Vinny Lecavalier.
1990 -- 20 players. Three notables: Jaromir Jagr, Martin Brodeur, Keith Primeau.
1991 -- 20 players. Three notables: Scott Niedermayer, Alex Kovalev, Mike Knuble. Note: Eric Lindros (760) and Peter Forsberg (708) did not reach 800.
Source: Inquirer research, Hockey-Reference.com