April 18, 2008

Capitals Vs Flyers 04/17/2008 EC Quarterfinal Game 4 Review

Photo - Mike Stobe / Getty Images

Capitals 3 - Flyers 4 2OT

Unlike the previous two playoff games, the Washington Capitals definitely played well enough to win this double overtime thriller versus the Philadelphia Flyers. They showed no fear as they heavily forechecked, backchecked and aggressively drove to the net.

It only took 42 seconds for Philadelphia to get on the scoreboard. Jeff Carter backhanded a shot past Cristobal Huet. Huet was cleaned out by Scottie Upshaw after the puck got by him, no penalty called as usual. At the other end a few seconds later, Alexander Semin took exception to being high sticked by Scott Hartnell. Everybody gathered in the corner and exchanged pleasantries. As is his typical wussey way, Danny Briere quickly got himself out of harms way and circled around looking for a defenseless victim. Briere figured the least scary opponent would be Washington's rookie center Nicklas Backstrom, so he sucker punched him in the back of the head before putting him in a headlock. Both Semin and Briere got two minutes in the penalty box for roughing. Briere also got called for holding. As Briere was escorted to the box, he was allowed to go over to bark at Backstrom some more. After another incident, where Alex Ovechkin's visor was mysteriously broken off his helmet, the Capitals answered back with the power play goal. Backstom got a perfect pass from Ovechkin and snapped the puck past Martin Biron for his first NHL playoff goal.

Photo - Tom Mihalek / AP

The next tally was also a Capitals' PP goal. This time Backstrom sent the beautiful cross ice pass through the crease to Semin, who banged in his first NHL playoff goal at 12:59. It was the first time since the end of the third period in Game 1 that Washington had been in the lead. After a lot more rough stuff, bitchin', whinnin', complainin' and missed penalty calls, Carter snapped in his second goal of the game.

Just under six minutes into the second period, a loose puck ended up in front of Steve Eminger. Emmy sent in the short side wrister for his first NHL playoff goal. The helpers on this one went to Semin and Brooks Laich. Laich was also instrumental in the other two Capitals' goals, as he was the one clearing the crease to the open shooting lanes. After a lot of exciting play by Washington and both goaltenders, as well as plenty of dirty misbehaving by the Flyers (See Semin's lacerated nose...At least Jim Dowd didn't completely remove his head), the period came to an end.

Photo - Mike Stobe / Getty Images

The Cap's started the third period ahead 3-2, with 1:24 of PP time on the clock. Unfortunately, after a few good scoring chances by Alex Ovechkin and the boys along with a couple amazing saves by Huet, the little pest Briere evened the score 3-3 at 10:01. With Matt Cooke taking a couple punches to the face, and John Erskine clearing the creases like the Flyers were mere bowling pins, Washington held the game to a tie through the end of regulation.

Washington had a few more scoring chances during the two overtime periods that were so close it had to have anyone watching on the edge of their seats yelling "Oooohh!" Just over six minutes into the second OT, Philadelphia's Mike Knuble parked himself by the Washington net. After a couple whacks, he pried Huet's skate from the post and banged in the heart breaking game winner on the next try.

Photo - Tom Mihalek / AP

Washington played so well and so hard, they really did deserve a win. However, the Flyers took their third straight. There are a lot of reasons to remain hopeful. Don't forget, they did win eight straight games before losing the second playoff game. Now, they need to take three straight. The percentages may be against them, but the determination that had disappeared for the last couple games has returned with a "vengeance", to use Philadelphia's favorite new big word.

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