Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Caps take the Flyers in a shootout

The Capitals clinched a playoff berth tonight in Philly but it wasn’t exactly easy. In one of the most thrilling games of the season, anyone watching would agree that it felt like playoff atmosphere was in the air. On a side note it was hard watching the game without Alex Ovechkin on the ice. Return soon Ovi.
The scoring started out early when Nicklas Backstrom beat Bobrovsky on a wrister that he probably should’ve saved. It was Nicky B’s 18th goal of the season. Mike Knuble has been showing his veteran leadership lately and it continued tonight when he lit the lamp in the first period making it 2-0. After the 1st period the Caps seemed to be well on their way to an easy win.
The Capitals made it 3-0 on the power play early in the second with Dennis Wideman’s first goal as a Cap. After that the Flyers rookie goaltender was pulled and Brian Boucher was replaced him. Something awoke in the Philadelphia players after the goalie switch because they were on the offensive for the remainder of the game. Kris Versteeg and Claude Giroux didn’t waste any time in the second drawing closer to the lead. By the end of the second period the score was 3-2 Washington with the Flyers carrying the momentum.
Philly outworked the Capitals to the point of Danny Briere taking the lead 4-3 with only five minutes remaining in the game. Every Washington fan including myself thought there was little chance of a Caps comeback. Marcus Johansson the stellar rookie defied the odds when he beat Boucher with a onetime slapper. MoJo continues to impress me and play better each night. He had one goal, one assist, and a +2 ice rating. Johansson’s goal would tie the game and send it to OT.
Overtime was action packed with scoring chances but neither team could strike in the five extra minutes. Last time the Caps and Flyers faced off in a shootout earlier this year Danny Briere won it for Philly. All three of Capitals shooters beat Boucher for a 3-2 shootout win. Matt Hendricks, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alex Semin were the shooters that all capitalized. I would have to say Matty H had the best goal when he undressed and embarrassed the Flyers goalie. He continues to impress me.
This was a huge win for the Caps without Alex Ovechkin and other big contributors. We now trail Philadelphia by one point but have played two more games than them. Let’s see if Washington can eventually retake first place for their second Eastern Conference title in two years. The Capitals will now head to Canada for games on Friday and Saturday nights. They will face the Ottawa Senators on Friday and the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. Tune in this weekend. Rock the Red!
Player of the Game: Mike Knuble (1 goal, 2 assists, +2)
Stat of the Game: +6, 6 points, game-tying goal (MoJo/Knuble/Chimera line)
Unsung Hero: Matt Hendricks

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