Major break for Flyers

Posted: March 04, 2014

WASHINGTON - Luke Schenn heard the crunch and took off.

Standing guard at the blue line, Schenn watched Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov pursue the puck in the corner. He couldn't believe the finish and fury with which Orlov pasted his younger brother, Brayden, against the boards face-first.

It was a moment of revenge for Orlov, who was crushed by Brayden Schenn seconds earlier on the same shift. The intent was obvious.

"I think seeing any hit like that on a teammate is tough, but when it's your little brother that's getting hit, I think you really get angry," Schenn said after the game. "I was a little worried, because I know he got up slow in the last game and you're never sure with hits like that to the head.

"You just never want to see a hit like that. I saw the first replay and I believe he left his feet, too. It's just a tough play."

Luke Schenn charged in from the point and tried to grab Orlov, who ducked out of reach while Brayden skated off the ice. He wanted to rip Orlov's face off.

But as incensed as Luke Schenn was, a little buzzer was going off in the back of his head - reminding him to keep cool. Trailing by two goals with a little more than 10 minutes to play, he knew the Flyers would be going to the power play.

He just didn't know for how long.

"The referee never made a signal or anything like that, but I just had a feeling it was going to be a 5-minute major," Schenn said. "It came at the perfect time in the game."

Schenn's discipline, something the Flyers lacked for most of the first two periods, ended up being one of the key differences in yesterday's come-from-behind win. The Flyers were able to harness the raw emotion from Orlov's hit and turn it into two valuable points.

For Orlov, the retaliatory hit flipped his first career two-goal game into an afternoon to forget. He was called for a 5-minute major for charging - later changed to boarding by the officials - even though Capitals coach Adam Oates said it didn't warrant as much.

For the second game this season, a 5-minute major call helped the Flyers top Washington, as they also scored twice on a major to Tom Wilson on Dec. 17.

"We had a two-goal lead," Oates said. "You get hit behind the net - hard. That's their guy's job. I understand you want payback, but you've got to be disciplined. I'm not saying it was a 5-minute board, but he definitely retaliated and you can't do that.

"If you have a bone to pick with a guy, we play them in 3 days. Now was not the time. We talk about it all the time. That's the kind of game [the Flyers] want to play. They're good at it. We're not."

Orlov's hit, like all major penalties, will be reviewed by the NHL's Department of Player Safety for any possible supplementary discipline. Wilson was not suspended back in December for his hit, coincidentally also on Brayden Schenn. Intent could play a factor.

Flyers coach Craig Berube did not have a problem with Orlov's game-changing hit.

"It's hockey," Berube said. "When guys play hard, things happen. Nobody likes a hit from behind - never liked the hit from the time I played the game until now. But it happens. It's a fast game out there."

Killing 'em smooth

Understandably, Berube did not want to delve into details about what the Flyers did to stymie Washington's second-ranked power play yesterday afternoon. With Adam Hall's shorthanded goal, the Flyers actually outscored the Capitals (0-for-6) while they had the man-advantage.

The Flyers also kept league-leading scorer Alex Ovechkin (43 goals) off the scoresheet entirely. Ovechkin was minus-3 and scoreless on six shots, plus another four attempts that were blocked and five that missed the net.

Hall said the Flyers' goal was to keep Washington to "low priority, low percentage plays."

"We just wanted to take away their options," Hall said. "We try to keep them on the perimeter as much as possible, because they have a lot of one-timers available. We try and take those away, win faceoffs and break up their momentum as much as possible."

Ovechkin barely moved from the left circle, his usual scoring spot. The Flyers' penalty-killing team of Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Braydon Coburn did a good job of clogging the slot to prevent cross-ice opportunities. Plus, Luke Schenn blocked two Ovechkin slappers on one first-period power play, including one in the chest.

"You know those shots don't feel good getting hit by them," Steve Mason said. "For the majority of their power plays, they definitely try to feed him the puck. You're not exactly cheating toward him but you definitely know where he is at all times. When he gets ahold of it, who knows where it's going? You just try and get in a good position. When it's coming from that close and that quick, you just hope it hits you more often that not."

Mason strong

Few Flyers earned today's day off more than Mason. With Ray Emery nursing a lower-body injury and Phantoms netminder Cal Heeter backing him up, Mason made his third start in 4 days. He stopped 58 of 64 shots in back-to-back afternoon games this weekend.

"With back-to-back afternoon games, the turnaround seems pretty quick - you don't get to go through your routine with your morning skate," Mason said. "I actually felt pretty good."

On Twitter: @DNFlyers


comments powered by Disqus