Capitals 3 - Flyers 6
The Washington Capitals didn't play much better in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Playoffs than in Game 2. They continued to be overpowered by the Philadelphia Flyers. Turnovers, bad penalties and a lack of leadership were to blame once again.
It only took 20 seconds for the Flyers to get a scoring chance, but it wasn't until late in the first period before they were able to get the first goal. The Capitals were intermittently more aggressive than in the last game, defensively and offensively. Around the middle of the first, Alexander Semin sent a snapshot in from the left faceoff circle that hit Flyers' goalie Martin Biron in the face mask so hard it took him down. After a couple minutes, he was alright and play resumed. With a 3 on 2 drive, it was Danny Briere that got Philadelphia on the scoreboard at 16:10. The Capitals answered back just over a minute later. Donald Brashear sent a perfect pass from behind the Flyers' net to Eric Fehr. Fehr made a beautiful shot that gave him his first NHL career playoff goal. It didn't take long to wipe the smiles from Caps' fans faces. Briere pushed Washington defenseman Tom Poti away from the front of the Capitals' net, while Scott Hartnell sent a long range slapper into the goal. Washington never suspected the role reversal played out by Hartnell and Briere. Just 17 seconds later, Sami Kapanen took advantage of a bad pass by Milan Jurcina and put the Flyers up by two.
In the penalty laden second period, Washington temporarily got back within one. Mike Green got his third goal of the playoffs on a well screened shot at 7:28, while on the power play. But, the Flyers weren't through roughing feathers. At 14:27, Briere went to the penalty box for roughing, after he tackled Caps' netminder Cristobal Huet. A man advantage at this point would've given Washington a scoring opportunity. But, Huet very stupidly pushed down Briere in retaliation while the referee with his arm up for Briere's infraction was standing right there watching. To me, that's your idiotic pivotal play of the game. If you're going to get revenge, your timing has to be a lot better than that. Of course, no call on Briere for giving Huet a whack on the back of the head as he skated to the box. With Poti in the box for hooking late in the period, Briere scored again with 9.8 seconds left on the clock. Danny now has four points in the playoffs.
The third period went much like the second. Plenty of penalties for both sides. Green got into a little altercation with Philadelphia's Scottie Upshaw 17 seconds in. I guess that was supposed to fire up the troops. It failed to deliver much motivation for the Cap's. However, when Brooks Laich was credited with tipping in a shot from Shaone Morrisonn at 15:26, the guys seemed to get a little more lively. Well, just in time huh? Not really. Just over three minutes left in the game, Morrisonn sends an outlet pass to Green. Mike Richards picked off the puck and drove to the Cap's net. Green tripped him before he got a shot off to prevent a goal being scored. The ref decided that this warranted a penalty shot, which richards promptly sent in via the five hole. With 1:45 left in the game, coach Bruce Boudreau called for a time out. Why? It was far too late to decide that he could inspire them into turning this game around. Afterwards, Washington did cycle the puck in the offensive zone for a bit before the puck bounced over Sergei Fedorov's stick and of the zone. Mike Knuble sent the puck into the empty net, and all that was left to do was wait for the final horn.
It was another embarrassing game in which the Capitals did few things right. They had not learned any lessons yet. They have to play their game. They can't let the Flyers intimidate them. If they focus on what they should be doing and close some of those passing and shooting lanes once and a while, they might accomplish something before it's too late.
All Photos - Bruce Bennett / Getty Images