Flyers lose to Capitals, 2-1, are officially eliminated from playoff contention

Jackie Spiegel, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Hockey

PHILADELPHIA — As Boyz II Men sang, “We’ve come to the end of the road.”

The Flyers did everything they could in a 2-1 loss against the Washington Capitals. They battled, forechecked, ate pucks, had timely saves — everything this group has done all season long to be in a meaningful game in the grand finale.

There is no denying the hometown guys left it all out there on the ice at the Wells Fargo Center in Game 82.

Unfortunately, it ended up for naught before they even knew it, as the Detroit Red Wings eliminated the Flyers by forcing overtime against the Montreal Canadiens with 3.3 seconds left in regulation. Seconds after the Flyers were officially eliminated, Washington took a 2-1 lead via a T.J. Oshie empty-netter. The Flyers net was empty in a tie game because if Detroit had not gotten the point, the Flyers had to win in regulation to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Despite the ending, the Flyers showed they are a team on the rise, a team that can compete with the upper echelon of the NHL. They went toe-to-toe with the Capitals, who are now headed to the postseason as the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

Things started out back and forth until Alexander Ovechkin got the lucky break of the night. Defenseman Dylan McIlrath, who was recalled two days ago from the Capitals AHL affiliate in Hershey, stepped up at the right point and threw the puck on net. It looked like it was going wide but ended up getting past Sam Ersson off possibly the shaft of Ovechkin’s stick as he cruised to the net. Ovechkin’s goal was his 31st of the season and 853rd of his career. He is now just 41 goals behind Wayne Gretzky for the NHL’s all-time goals record.

But the Flyers kept pressing and pressing. They continued to hem the Capitals in their own end and forecheck relentlessly. It ended up paying off in the second period when an Egor Zamula point shot deflected in off Erik Johnson in front to tie things up. The Wells Fargo Center roared as the defenseman, the guy with the most playoff games under his belt, celebrated with a one-knee on the ice double fist pump.


Flyers awards

The Flyers handed out their 2023-24 season awards on Tuesday. Defenseman Nick Seeler was named the team’s winner of the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award, given to the player who illustrates character, dignity, and respect both on and off the ice, according to the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Travis Konecny won the Bobby Clarke Award, presented annually to the Flyers’ most valuable player as voted on by a select panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. He also won his second Toyota Cup as the Flyer who accumulated the most points associated with being selected as a “Star of the Game.”

Sanheim was selected as the winner of the Barry Ashbee Trophy, as the Flyers’ most outstanding defenseman. It is the second time he has won the award, which is also voted on by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. His defensive partner, York, was named the winner of the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy by his teammates as the Flyers’ most improved player from the previous season.

Ersson took home the Gene Hart Memorial Award by the Flyers Fan Club. It is given to the player who demonstrated the most “heart” during the season. Finally, Scott Laughton was the inaugural winner of the Flyers Alumni Community Leadership Award. It is presented to the Flyer who best demonstrates outstanding leadership, both on and off the ice, as well as a significant contribution to the community.

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