The Philadelphia Flyers were on the verge of getting swept so Dave Hakstol decided to make a change in goal.
Michal Neuvirth made 31 saves in the game and 12 of them came in the third period alone. Neuvirth had to make some key saves and some came in close. The goalie made the saves he needed to make early on and came up with some huge ones later in the game. Philadelphia also did a better job of playing defense, blocking shots and getting sticks in the passing/shooting lanes to deflect the puck.
Hakstol made some line changes for the fourth game of the series. Colin McDonald was in the lineup for Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who was suspended one game after his hit on Dmitry Orlov in game four. Brayden Schenn was moved back up to the top line with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. Jake Voracek was moved down to play with Michael Raffl and Sam Gagner.
The Flyers got an early power play chance in the first period and cashed in. Shayne Gostisbehere,the birthday boy, let a blast go from the point with Wayne Simmonds in front of Braden Holtby and scored the Flyers first power play goal of the series. Barry Trotz challenged the play citing goalie interference, but lost it along with his timeout. Gostisbehere became the youngest defenseman (23) to score a playoff goal since Janne Niinimaa (21) back on May 16, 1997, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The Orange and Black went into intermission with a 1-0 lead, which is the first time that has happened in the series.
There was a scary moment during the first period in which Scott Laughton and John Carlson were racing after a puck, Laughton lost his edge and fell into the bottom of the boards, shoulder and back first. Laughton was taken off the ice on a stretcher to a standing ovation by the fans and stick taps by players on both teams. It was announced during the local broadcast of the game that he was on his way to a local hospital.
In the second period, Gostisbhere skated the puck into the zone and dished it off to Brayden Schenn along the boards. Schenn took the shot, Holtby made the save, with the rebound going to the corner. Simmonds beat out his man in the corner and got the puck back to Andrew MacDonald. MacDonald took the point shot, which appeared to be deflected by a Capitals’ player’s stick and into the back of the net. The Flyers had a 2-0 lead to start the final 20 minutes of play.
The Caps started to make its push in the third and scored just 2:38 into the final period. The puck came up along the boards to the point where Karl Alzner found it and made the pass to Matt Niskanen. Niskanen let a shot go from the point, Neuvirth made the save, but the rebound went to T.J. Oshie who found just enough space to put the puck in the net. The Capitals had several chances to tie the game, but Neuvirth stood tall and made 12 saves during the final period. His best save came against Tom Wilson, who found an opening in front, grabbed a loose puck and fired point blank. Neuvy had his glove on top of his pad and made the save.
The series will shift back to Washington, DC and the Verizon Center on Friday night with the Capitals leading the series three game to one.