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Instant analysis: Flyers vs. Capitals, Game 6

Washington's talent proves too much for resilient Philadelphia team

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The Washington Capitals defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday to win the best-of-7 series 4-2.

Nicklas Backstrom's goal 8:59 into the second period gave the Capitals their first lead since the end of their 6-1 win in Game 3 and ended Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth's shutout streak at 106 minutes and 21 seconds. That was enough for Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who made 26 saves for his second shutout of the series.

The Capitals advance to the second round to face the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins, who dispatched the New York Rangers in five games in their first-round series. It will be the second playoff series -- and first since 2010 -- between Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

What we learned: The Capitals showed flashes of being the team that ran away with the Presidents' Trophy with 120 points and set a franchise record with 56 wins, but still haven't played their best game. After Neuvirth entered the series at the start of Game 4, the Capitals struggled to score despite controlling play for long stretches.

Holtby was sharp when called upon and allowed five goals in the series. The Capitals did a good job of moving the puck out of the defensive zone, but will be tested more in the second round by the deeper Penguins.

Video: WSH@PHI, Gm6: Holtby makes clutch saves in the 3rd

What this means for the Capitals: The Capitals end, for now, the talk of underachieving in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and their inability to close out playoff series. They will need to elevate their game in the second round, but, perhaps, finally finishing off the Flyers will help them relax a little.

What this means for the Flyers: The Flyers' 2015-16 season is over. They surprised many with a late season run to reach the playoffs and demonstrated their resiliency against the Capitals by taking Games 4 and 5. But, in the end, were overmatched talent-wise against the Presidents' Trophy winners. They will look to take the next step in their rebuild next season.

Key moment:  After Backstrom was assessed a four-minute double minor for high sticking at 4:25, Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen was called for hooking at 4:30, giving the Flyers a 5-on-3 for a two minutes. The Capitals killed it off with Holtby making three saves. The Flyers' best opportunity during the two-man advantage was Wayne Simmonds' rebound chance from the left side that Holtby smothered between his pads at 5:32. 

After Niskanen returned to make it a 5-on-4, Ryan White was called for holding his stick, negating the remainder of the Flyers' power play. Backstrom scored three seconds after a brief Capitals' power play expired.

Video: WSH@PHI, Gm6: Backstrom buries home Johansson's feed

Unsung player of the game: Capitals center Jay Beagle played another solid two-way game and was 10-7 on faceoffs. Beagle played a key role in helping to kill off the Flyers' two-minute 5-on-3 power play in the second period and prevented a premium scoring chance in the third by lifting Nick Cousins' stick in front as the rebound of Shayne Gostisbehere's point shot was coming to him in front.

What's next: The Capitals advance to the second round to face the Penguins in a series that will be filled with star power.

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