Monday, April 21, 2008

Flyers blow 2 goal lead, chance to end series

You knew he would make his mark eventually. After basically being shut down for 5 games, Alexander Ovechkin proved why he is the NHL MVP as he scored two goals in the third period to lead the Capitals past the Flyers, 4-2. The win forces the series back to Washington for a Game 7, something the Flyers desperately wanted to avoid.

The Flyers dominated the game through most of the first 30 minutes of play, building a 2-0 lead from two power play goals scored by Mike Richards and Danny Briere. From there, the Caps took over, scoring 4 unanswered goals and completely dominating the play. Nicklas Backstrom scored his third goal in as many games to start the scoring for the Caps, and Ovechkin added the game winner in the beginning of the third period when he came in all alone and shot the puck past Martin Biron. Ovechkin later added a one-time goal on the power play to seal the victory for the Caps.

It was only a matter of time before Ovechkin got going, and the Flyers made several costly mistakes to facilitate his breakout game. Washington "capitalized" on nearly every Flyer mistake, and there were plenty of sloppy passes and dumb penalties for them to take advantage of. The Flyers lacked a killer instinct all night, like they were unaware they had a great opportunity to finish off the series. As soon as Philly got a two goal lead, they seemed satisfied and played back on their heels, allowing the Capitals to dictate the play. The only thing that kept this game from being a bigger blowout was the play of Martin Biron, who made 36 saves, several of them big stops that kept the Flyers within striking distance.

The Flyers are now forced to try to finish out the Capitals in Washington, a place they haven't played great hockey. The Flyers need to come out with way more energy than they have shown in the last two games or the Capitals will score early and the game could be over quickly. They blew their chance tonight, and now the Caps carry all the momentum and confidence into the final game of the series. Alexander Ovechkin also appears to have woken up from his playoff slumber, and that could spell the end for the Flyers' season.

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