Thursday, April 17, 2008

Knuble scores goal in second overtime to give Flyers 3-1 series lead

The Flyers played easily their worst two periods of the series against the Capitals tonight, and yet they still did just enough to eke out a victory. It was a game that saw the Flyers make a ton of mistakes in the first and second periods, but the Capitals were unable to take advantage of those mistakes and allowed the Flyers to hang around long enough to win the game 4-3 in an exciting double overtime contest.

The Flyers scored the first goal of the game 42 seconds in when Jeff Carter popped one home, but the Capitals quickly countered with a goal of their own on a power play. The Flyers then had 5 straight minutes of power play time where they generated very few chances and the Caps easily killed it off. The Caps then countered with another power play goal after the Flyers took two penalties within 30 seconds. Then Washington completely outplayed the Flyers for the rest of the first period until Jeff Carter was able to notch his second goal of the game with little over a minute left to tie the score at 2 all.

The Capitals then got several more chances in the second period until Steve Eminger scored to make the game 3-2. For the rest of the second, the Capitals dominated the play, and Marty Biron had to stand on his head to keep the Flyers in the game. The Flyers picked up the hitting at the end of the period, which gave them some momentum heading into the third period.

In the third, the Flyers found new life and were all over the ice, getting to loose pucks and creating a ton of chances. It was Cristobal Huet's turn to stand on his head, and he made a number of impressive saves until Danny Briere tied the game on a feed from Mike Richards on the power play. Richards did all the hustle work to set up the play and make a beautiful pass across the crease, and Briere nailed it into a wide open net.

The game went into overtime, where the intensity picked up and there were chances left and right. Huet and Biron matched each other save for save, and the game eventually became the longest of any playoff game this postseason as it went into a second overtime.

Mike Knuble was finally the hero in the second overtime, getting a feed from Jeff Carter that he shot into the pads of Huet, and then he grabbed the rebound and pounded it home to give the Flyers a 4-3 win. The goal also gives the Flyers a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Capitals as the series returns to Washington this weekend.

The Capitals appeared to finally make the adjustments necessary at the beginning of this game, as they played their best game of the series yet. They simply allowed the Flyers to hang around too long, and the Flyers were opportune on the few chances they were given. Alexander Ovechkin continues to come up small for the Caps. He did finish with two assists, but he has only scored one goal in four playoff games, a pace that pales in comparison to his 65 regular season goals.

The Flyers are in the driver's seat in this series, they appear to have taken the Capitals best shot and still managed to pull out a victory. The Caps are on the ropes and they are going to need some lucky bounces if they are going to get back into this series. The Flyers have all of the momentum, and if they can jump on them quickly in the next game, they should be able to discourage Washington and send them to an early playoff exit.

Footage of Knuble's game winner:

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