Sunday, April 13, 2008

Biron shuts door, Flyers tie series

Washington Capitals' fans should file a missing persons report for Alexander Ovechkin, because he was nowhere to be found in today's 2-0 win by the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers defense shut down the usually potent Ovechkin, who managed 5 shots on goal, but generated very few chances in his nearly 27 minutes of ice time.

Martin Biron played a great game in goal, turning aside 24 shots en route to his first career playoff shutout. He needed to make several big stops in the second period when the Capitals were firing a number of shots on goal, but he also had long stretched of time where he could relax, including six minutes in the third period when the Capitals didn't tally a shot on goal.

Biron had to be sharp in the first two periods because the Flyers couldn't keep out of the penalty box. The Flyers had 4 penalties in the first period alone that led to numerous power play chances by the Caps, but luckily they were able to stop the usually potent Washington attack.

Offensively, the Flyers scored both of their goals in the first period. The first goal of the game came on a long pass from Braydon Coburn to R.J. Umberger which led to Umberger putting it past Cristobal Huet. The second goal was created when Mike Green of the Capitals turned the puck over to Mike Knuble, who fired a shot on goal, and the rebound went directly to Jeff Carter who buried it for a 2-0 lead in the first period. From the second goal on, the Flyers generated only very few good chances, instead focusing on shutting down Washington's attack.

This is a big win for the Flyers, who now get to go home after stealing one in Washington. I said before the series started that Philly needed to take one of the first two games to have a chance, and after blowing a great opportunity in the first game, they were resilient in fighting back today. They have to be happy that they seem to have found a way to slow down Alexander Ovechkin, who has been invisible except for his game winning goal in Game One. The Flyers are also happy to take this win knowing their top offensive combo, Danny Briere and Vaclav Prospal, didn't have to score at all. Getting the other lines going is critical if the Flyers want to have success in the playoffs, they can't rely solely on Briere and Prospal to carry them.

Game Three is Tuesday in Philly. The Capitals looked extremely frustrated at the end of Game Two, so if the Flyers can get an early goal or two, they might be able to run away with the series.

Expect Alexander Ovechkin to "find himself" in Game Three. It will be up to the Flyers to respond.

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