Flyers Expect Physical Play to Continue
WASHINGTON — Few noticed the 18 minutes in penalties shelled out as time expired Thursday night in the Game 1 win for the Washington Capitals.
None of the infractions carry over into Saturday’s Game 2, so it didn’t much matter. The intent will, however.
Between the two teams there were 55 hits on the final scoresheet. One of them took Flyers center Sean Couturier out of the game. Several others initiated post-whistle scrums.
“I think that first game was pretty physical,” Brayden Schenn said. “Guys try to establish the big-body presence early on and hopefully it wears on guys throughout the series. That Game 1 was pretty intense. I think throughout the playoffs you have to be physical and wear the other teams down and to say it’s going to be as physical every night as (Thursday) night, it’s hard to say but I’m sure there’s going to be some big hits throughout the series.”
One from Schenn on ex-Flyer Mike Richards, for whom he was traded in 2011, drew attention after a stoppage in play. Flyers-Capitals hockey is always a physical bout, something that might help the Flyers as long as it doesn’t take any of their players out of the game.
While most players on the roster are quite comfortable playing that brand of hockey, it doesn’t do much good for the smallest guy on the roster. Rookie phenom Shayne Gostisbehere is gererously listed at 5-foot-11 (try 5-foot-9) and 180 pounds. He quickly became a target for the Capitals to try and hit.
“I mean you expect it a little bit but I think that’s just the way they’re playing right now,” Gostisbehere said. “It’s the playoffs, it’s a different season, so to say. I'm going to keep expecting it and just play my game out there.”
He may be starting to feel a physical burden, although he won’t admit to it. One of the youngest Flyers on the roster at age 22, he took a “maintenance day” at Flyers practice on Tuesday and said Wednesday he wished he could have practiced.