How it happened: There is no doubt that Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth was focused, but after shutting out the Capitals for a total of 106:21 (72 consecutive saves), Washington scored on Nicklas Backstrom's one-timer at 8:59 of the second period that proved to be the game-winning tally. Neuvirth, who became the starting goalie in Game 4, was outstanding to keep it close, but the Flyers struggled offensively. When Philadelphia did create a quality scoring chance, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made the timely saves. The Vezina Trophy candidate finished the series with two shutouts and allowed a total of six goals on 161 shots in the six games. Neuvirth finished with a total of 103 saves in three games.
Special teams proved crucial for the Capitals and eventually were one of the downfalls for the Flyers. Philadelphia finished the series 1-for-24 on the power play, while Washington finished 8-for-26. It also didn’t help that the Flyers were without second-line center Sean Couturier, who suffered an upper-body injury in Game 1 and missed the remainder of the series. Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux and linemate Wayne Simmonds were held scoreless in the series.
What it means: The Capitals will face the high-flying Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, setting up an outstanding series between two world-class talents in Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. The two teams last met in the postseason during the 2008-09 Stanley Cup playoffs and the Penguins defeated the Capitals 4-3 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Pittsburgh eventually won the Stanley Cup that season. Either one of these teams could contend for the Stanley Cup this season and the entire hockey world is foaming at the mouth to watch Ovechkin and Crosby go head-to-head. For the Flyers, the organization should be proud of the fact it even reached the playoffs this season. It was a spirited effort to erase a 3-0 deficit to force a Game 6, but the Capitals proved to be too strong. This is the eighth time in the past nine seasons the Capitals have reached the playoffs, but they have not reached the conference finals in that span.