It's not often that two bitter rivals in the middle of a serious playoff race each leave a head-to-head matchup with smiles on their faces, but that's exactly what happened on Tuesday night in Philadelphia following the Washington Capitals 5-4 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Caps chased rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky early in the second period when Dennis Wideman scored a fluky goal from the point. That goal made the score 3-0, and it looked as though Washington was going to run away with two points. But Philadelphia fought back on goals from Kris Versteeg, Claude Giroux and Andreas Nodl to tie the score, and with about five minutes left in the third period, Danny Briere gave them their first lead of the hockey game.
From there, it looked like the home team would be the ones walking away with the two points and a stranglehold on the East's top spot, but Marcus Johansson scored with just over three minutes remaining to tie the score yet again and send the game into overtime. After a scoreless OT period, all three Caps shooters scored in the shootout to take the extra point.
You'd expect the Capitals to be furious with their giant blown lead in this one, but instead, after the game, the focus was on the character it took to stay focused after going down 4-3 late. In the Philadelphia locker room, you'd expect the Flyers to be angry with their poor start and the fact that they couldn't seal the deal late, but ultimately, they were satisfied with their overall effort and the resilience it took to battle back from a big deficit.
Now, the race is basically in the same place it was a day ago, minus the fact that Washington officially clinched a playoff berth by picking up the two points. The Flyers are still in first with two games in hand and the Caps are slightly closer, still on their heels. It should be an interesting two weeks at the top of the East.