Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Out Of Gas

Game 3 - Capitals 3, Flyers 6 - PHI Leads 2-1
Scoresheet - Wash Post - Wash Times -

Danielle Briere got under the skin of the Washington Capitals. It was the distraction the Flyers needed to get their opponents off kilter and take a series lead at home. The Caps just couldn't match Philly's intensity and surrender the series lead.

The Flyers' top line is outshining the Caps' top line. Alex Ovechkin was held to a single assist while Nick Backstrom and Viktor Kozlov have been melted into the woodwork. Eric Fehr scored his first ever NHL playoff goal as did Brooks Laich. Mike Green scored his 3rd playoff goal and leads the Capitals in scoring.

Cris Huet just can't solve Briere. He has been victimized by the smallest of the Flyers partly because of penalty trouble and partly of the jump the Broad Street Bullies seem to have on the Caps. Huet calm demeanor was a bit rattled by Flyers constantly in his living room and abusing the goaltender's glove.

The Caps are also playing hurt. Jeff Schultz didn't last too long and the Caps were down a man down on defense once again. Two of the Flyers goals came off of bad turnovers by the Caps' defenders. Playing shorthanded on the blueline seems to be taxing them as the game wears on. It's another wasted roster spot on a team that can ill afford to be down a man.

A more physical side of the Flyers also took an affect as the Caps found themselves sitting in the box after some bad retaliation penalties. However, the officials seem disinterested in calling any penalties against the constant barrage of stick fouls on Ovechkin. The leg check in the third period is just the tip of the iceberg of what Ovie has to deal with. Not that I am making any excuses for the All-Star forward (this is the playoffs, you have to expect a lot of this), but the Flyers are taking every opportunity to hook and spear the forward, with no calls from the zebras.

Now the Caps have to split the series and desperately need a road win in a very inhospitable Wachovia Center. Any momentum the Caps carried from the regular season is now gone. The Caps cannot just assume they will have a comeback in them every game. If they are relying on that, it will be a short series. The Caps need to solve their offensive woes in a quick way.

Maybe it's time to give Kolzig a look in net. The larger goaltender might force the Flyers to make that extra pass, and give the Caps' a chance to defend. While Huet has served the Caps well getting to the playoffs, he is being abused in them. This team has two top goaltenders, let's use them. It's unlikely Gabby will though.

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