Thursday, February 07, 2008

From Worst To First (It's About Time Post)

Capitals 4, Flyers 3
Scoresheet - Wash Post

When Bruce Boudreau took over the Washington Capitals they were a down and out team. They weren't even considering playoffs, they were just looking to salvage a season. But Gabby took off the shroud of perfect play under Glen Hanlon and told the boys to play. If they were down a couple of goals, they had to make that up. It hasn't been a perfect trip to the top, but the Capitals (being the only Southeast Division team to play tonight) took sole possesion of first place in the division and 3rd in the Eastern Conference standings.

Brooks Laich started the scoring after Alex Ovechkin had to sit in the sin bin with James Vandermeere after the pair exchanged cross checks after the whistle. It was a pretty little backhander to open the scoring in the second. Matt Bradley tipped a shot in for his 3rd goal of the year and 64 seconds later Viktor Kozlov netted a goal. Ovechkin didn't waste much time getting the 4th goal and his 46th of the year to put the Caps up 4-1.

The Flyers didn't lay down in the third after that, but their luck could have been better. A goal was disallowed due to a quick whistle after Scott Hartnell pushed Olie Kolzig and the puck into the net. Then the Broad Street Bullies made a case for overtime netting two goals with 22 seconds left to tie the game. But the Caps persevered, much to the chagrin of the hometown faithful who were still booing the refs as the game ended for disallowing a goal.

The Caps played a pretty good road game up until the Flyers started making a comeback. The Caps held Daniel Briere and Mike Richards to an assist each and a -1. Alex Semin, Mike Green, and Shaone Morrisonn all were a +2. The Philly boys came out physical in the first period, but their legs gave out and inopportune times. The Caps weren't perfect in this game, but when have they ever been.

The Caps have a day to enjoy being at the top. For a team that was tied for 3rd in the division and 11th in the Conference, they have catapulted themselves to 1st in the Southeast and 3rd in the Conference. Remember 1st place division teams in each division take the 1, 2 and 3 spots in the Conference. The Caps finally are sitting in a position they last saw March of 2003.

Carolina will have something to say about that Friday night. The 'Canes will be in town to take on the newly crowned 1st place Caps to reclaim the title. This game is shaping up to be one of the biggest games of the season for the Washington squad. For the Capitals to remain in first with a win over a division rival, but it's been a mixed bag of success for them playing their division so far this season.

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