Monday, April 21, 2008

Not So Fast Philly

Game 6 - Capitals 4, Flyers 2 - Series Tied 3-3
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Wash Times -

Four unanswered goals spanning the second and third periods. Four amazing goals forcing a crucial game seven back in Chinatown. After the Flyers got the start they wanted, the cardiac Capitals save their best game to force a deciding game. No handshakes tonight at the Wachovia Center, this series is back in DC. And was there any doubt?

You can only put Alex Ovechkin in a bottle for so long until he explodes for two of the biggest goals of the series. He scored the game winner and added some insurance both in the third period. Alex Semin also was instrumental in the Caps come from behind win with a goal and a big assist. Nick Backstrom also got a tally.

The Capitals seem to play their best hockey when they are against the inevitable. Philadelphia opened the scoring in the first with a power play goal and scored early in the second with another power play tally to get the start of a lifetime at home in what they considered a "must win" game. They had all the momentum and had a glorious opportunity to put the Caps away a power play.

But the Caps killed it off, and came storming back. First off of a pretty tape to tape to tape pass by Backstrom, Semin and Brooks Laich, concluding with Backstrom going top shelf to cut the Flyers lead in half. Then John Erskine threw a bomb at Marty Biron who misplayed it with his glove and Semin gobbled up the rebound to tie the game late in the second.

Then Ovechkin went to work. Philly definitly had the chances to go up 3-0 and even 3-2 but a couple of posters and some great saves by Cris Huet (who earned second star honors) kept the score even. Then off a shot from the Flyers' point blocked by Ovie. Viktor Kozlov picked up the rebound and hit the streaking Ovechkin in stride. And the left winger made no mistake, going upstairs on Biron for the eventual game winning goal.

It seemed fitting (downright poetic) that after the Flyers had kept Ovechkin in check for so long that it was a wide open breakaway that got the Caps right back into this series. After that the All Star forward was flying. He even drew a hooking penalty and scored on the following "too many men" Flyer penalty. Brooks Laich saw him streaking down the left side and passed it for the one timer.

Lights out, 4-2. The Flyers tried to get an attack going, but looked just a little less confident as they had in games 1 through 4. The once boisterous Flyer crowd found it more important to beat the traffic out of the building then cheering their team to the end. I guess there were no chants of "@%*! Ovechkin!" on the escalators this night.

Brooks Laich, Eric Fehr, Matt Bradley and John Erskine were at their best in this game. The foursome always seemed to keep the play moving and were strong on their skates (hitting, maneuvering and finding the open man). They were the ones that stood out the most down the stretch for me. Alex Semin also has flourished while Ovie has struggled. With Ovechkin getting all the attention, it has been easy for the skilled forward to find some room, and he is making the most of his opportunities.

This is exactly what the Flyers were hoping to avoid. They didn't want to travel back to DC, they wanted a couple of days of rest, they assumed that they could end it amongst their fans. But that wasn't to be for the orange and black. Now it's another trip back to the phone booth with questions in their mind.

The job is not done. The Caps still have to come back to Verizon Center on back to back nights to play the Flyers one last time. Unlike other wins in this series however, it finally seems the Caps have all the momentum. The schedule couldn't have been written up any better for them. While it's fun to relish in this win, the Caps are still looking to finish out the series. They can do it by winning their third straight playoff game.


Anonymous said...

There was, without a doubt, that this series would go the distance. It was just a matter of time before Ovie was able to breakout and in tremendous fashion, 2 goals on 9 shots. I'm rather surprised at how deflated the Filths were after the Caps came back to tie the game and take the lead. Now if the Caps can take control of Game 7 tonight, here we come Pens.

asnowballschance said...