April 23, 2008

Flyers Vs Capitals 04/22/2008 EC Quarterfinal Game 7 Review

Flyers 3 - Capitals 2 OT

The Washington Capitals, who went further this season than anyone other than their organization and fans ever believed possible, lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the NHL's 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

This was an exciting event, right from the start. The first period began with Washington's hero Alex Ovechkin putting a tasty crunching hit on Kimmo Timonen. The typically unimaginably horrible officiating started soon after with countless missed calls. In the middle of all that some good things were taking place, though. The Capitals were first to get on the scoreboard. After the officials made one of their intermittent penalty calls on Philadelphia, Washington went on the power play. Just after a faceoff in the offensive zone, Sergei Fedorov passed the puck to Ovechkin. Alex sent in a slapshot and Nicklas Backstrom was there to poke in the rebound at 5:42. It was Backstrom's fourth goal in four games. Later on however, the Flyers got a PP goal of their own, when Scottie Upshall's slapshot trickled through Cristobal Huet's pads. After watching Washington's Boyd Gordon repeatedly getting knocked down to the ice without a penalty called, the period mercifully ended in a 1-1 tie.

With the first half of the second period full of even more undetected violations by the Flyers, it became clear that the Capitals were going to have to be exceptionally amazing to come out of this battle with a win. There were some calls on Washington that were missed as well. However, there wasn't going to be any balance here. The injustice that was dealt to the Capitals next, will be talked about for decades. On a drive to Washington's net just after the midpoint of the game, Philadelphia's Patrick Thoresen pushed defender Shaone Morrisonn directly into netminder Cristobal Huet. Huet went down hard and away from the net during the collision which Morrisonn couldn't possibly avoid. With the goal mouth wide open, Sami Kapanen scored what clearly should have been a disallowed goal. Yet, referee Paul Devorski immediately signaled that it was a goal. The goal was allowed to stand.

With about four and a half minutes left in the second period, Ovechkin came to the rescue. Viktor Kozlov sent a long range pass out of the Cap's end to Brooks Laich, near the blue line. Laich dished it to Alex, who snapped it into the net so hard and so fast that Martin Biron didn't have time to flinch. Biron never moved, as he only had the breeze caused by the puck zipping by, to let him know what just happened. The second period ended with the score even at 2-2.

The third period was a total disgrace to the NHL and any fan of hockey, as well as anyone who gives a damn about right and wrong. In other words the ref's swallowed their whistles and it was anything goes. They even let play continue after the puck left the rink, bounced off the safety meshing and returned to the ice surface.

After letting everything go in the third period and the beginning of overtime, Washington's Tom Poti was sent to the penalty box for hooking at 4:15. It was at this point that I finally started experiencing the nervousness that a lot of other Cap's fans had been complaining about before games. For the last few weeks, I had remained almost unyieldingly confident. Now, with the Flyers hanging out in the Capital's end during sudden death OT, all of a sudden I was consumed with complete and total panic. At 6:06 my fears were realized as Joffrey Lupul scored the deciding PP goal, ending what seemed like everything in existence.

All Photos - Nick Wass / AP

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