Monday, April 21, 2008

Game 6: Caps @ Flyers

[AP Preview - WashingtonCaps.com Preview]

Before the puck dropped to start the third period of Saturday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series between the Caps and Flyers, and with the Caps holding a slim 2-1 lead, I turned to my dad and said, "The Flyers have nothing to lose right now - all the pressure is on the Caps to hold on to this lead. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Flyers come out real loose and dominate the third."

And that, of course, is exactly what happened (everywhere but on the scoreboard, that is).

Those roles now are completely reversed - all the pressure is on the Flyers to win at home tonight. And while the Caps still have something - something big - to lose, it's not going to be the guys in white who are gripping their sticks a little tighter than usual.

Can the Flyers keep Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin - who are one-two in the playoffs in missed shots - from adjusting their sites and finding the net for a big goal (or two... or three...) in Game Six? They'd better hope so.

Can the Flyers continue to win games with production from basically one line (Philly's top line has accounted for half of their goals in the series while the Caps have gotten just 21% of their goals from their top unit)? They'd better hope so (or get some more help from a secondary source... and this is one place where the Mike Knuble injury hurts the Flyers so much).

Can the Flyers continue to win games with Martin Biron stopping less than 90% of the shots he's facing? They'd better hope so (or hope that Marty raises his game a bit).

Can the Flyers sweep all three home games in this series by winning tonight and ending the series? They'd better hope so... because they sure as hell don't want to come back to D.C. for a Game Seven.

The pressure's on, Philly. Can you feel it?

58 comments:

Ben said...

Pressure is a privilege.

It's hard for me to see the Caps winning this game. I think they spent all their energy dominating Game 5.

And what's with Versus dumping this game? I guess it woulda been blacked out anyhow.

Now I'll be stuck with Laughlin and Al Koken for the first time since HTS.

Ben said...

Forget the Caps, forget the Flyers. Good luck beating Kate Smith. With her, the Flyers are 72-18-4 all-time.

It doesn't start until the fat lady sings.

Natty Bumpo said...

ben's feeling the pressure.

Anonymous said...

Kate Smith is dead

Paul said...

Here's another question: Can the Caps win a face-off at a critical moment? They'd better hope so. In the last 6 minutes of game 5 they lost four straight in their zone, and all led to scoring chances. And it wasn't just one guy. Fedorov, Stecks, and Gordon all lost them. That has to change tonight.

FAUX RUMORS said...

1) Amazing how things can turn on a dime in the post season. We wonder how the folks in Montreal are feeling about the Huet trade right now?
2) They lose tonight and boy wonder Carey Price gives up another 5-spot the nice folks in Habs-land might not be very happy.

JP said...

@ Paul: Steckel's hand has to still be bothering him. How else to explain a 36% winning percentage for a guy who was well over 50% pre-injury.

As for the rest of 'em, each draw is a coin-flip (Feds is 50%, Gordo's 51.8%, Laich is 54.9%, Backstrom is 52.7%). But flip a coin four times, and the chance of coming up with four heads or four tails is pretty slim - 1 in 16. Hopefully that stretch was the "1" and the odds play out a little more favorably for the Caps tonight.

Ben said...

ben's feeling the pressure.

No denying that.

tg said...

On another note, can we all agree that Emminger will get tendered this summer and (hopefully) replace Jurcina or Erskine in the lineup? Figure Green and Morrisonn stay top, with Poti and Emminger next, then have Jurcina, Erskine, Alzner, Lepisto, and Finley battle it out for the last 2-3 spots. (I'm thinking Pothier's not coming back.)

And any chance we'll ever figure out what Emminger did to be a healthy scratch 80% of the season?

JP said...

"Don't Stop Believing," red-clad fans... whomever you might root for.

LJN said...

Jp,
As a Flyers fan I gotta say you should list a Caps: "Can the Caps still."...list. The Flyers have done it so far the Caps have been more sporadic.
Its been great hockey so far and I suspect tonight will be no different.
Caps fans must feel good because everyone outside Philly picked the Caps to win this series and the Network announcers are creaming themselves all over the Caps and in particular AO.
Go Flyers
PS- Nice work with the blog...I havent found a good Flyers one yet.

JP said...

@ TG: I think we'll get the story on Emmy once he leaves town... this summer. My gut tells me that bridge has been burned and it is beyond repair. Hopefully I'm wrong.

Chemmy said...

Missed shots is sort of a nonintuitive statistic.

What's a worse shot, a shot that misses the crossbar and goes over it by two inches (a missed shot) or a shot right into the goaltender's chest (a shot)?

Ben said...

The Flyers certainly perfected that at the chest shot in the third Saturday. And they learned to do it from the red line.

Maybe some good came of it and they broke Huet's sternum or something

Tyler said...

Not to be a broken record on 44 here, but are any of us really surprised by how he's playing?! I mean, obviously when he sat for 45+ games he was shaky the first game or two back. Who wouldn't be? But since he's gotten pretty regular ice-time (in the playoffs!) he's played quite well. It makes the organIzation's approach to him all the more befuddling.

Multi-year, multi-million-dollar deals can make up for a lot of animus, but yeah, I don't know how.... I would tend to think that a deal would have to be preceded by the Caps making an unusual public 'apology' about how they've treated/used him. I think that's a signal for which we should watch in the next week or two, depending on what happens in the PHL series.

Tyler said...

Classy: Hoping that player suffer freak injuries?

JP said...

Good news for both teams... Bill McCreary is calling tonight's B's/Habs game.

Not sure who the Caps and Flyers are getting, but at least it won't be that douche bag (Shaone Morrisonn, rejoice).

b.orr4 said...

Well, it's official. We're screwed. Philly's favorite son, the Prince of Preictions, Eklund said Sunday that he sees the Flyers having no problem with Caps in game 6. And the reason he gave is the huge edge in scoring depth that the Flyer's have. Of course, he's not alone in this theory (what a surprise, Eklund stealing ideas from others), but a simple check of the stats gives a different result. The Flyers have scored 18 goals in this series with goals coming from nine different players. However, 13 of those goals have been scored by just four players, meaning they're responsible for 72% of their team's scoring. That doesn't sound too balanced. By comparison, the Caps have scored 14 goals with ten players chipping in. And they only have three guys with multiple goals and they're responsible for just 7 tallies or 50% of their team's scoring. So no matter how you slice it; 10 goal scorers vs nine or 50% of total goals vs 72%,
it's the Caps who have more scoring depth not the Flyers. And don't forget, Ovechkin's only has one goal.

JP said...

... and that one goal is winning the series, regardless of personal stats. :)

b.orr4 said...

I could be wrong, but I just don't see them winning tonight without Alex getting at least one goal. Defensively, the Flyers have to be questioning their tactics of focusing so much on Ovechkin. Federov's and Semin's goals were clearly the result of them paying extra attention to Alex.

PPP said...

McCreary's doing the Habs' game? Great to see a Leafs fan doing that one :)

grapejoos said...

Ovechkin is going to blow up in the next 48 hours. I can sense it. But if he has to keep playing decoy and helping the Flyers with their line changes, whatever works.

Rage said...

Who were the refs for Game 4?

And I enjoy the fact that Brooksie seems to have become our new spokes person. Future captain Brooks Laich? At least an A next year?

James said...

Versus dumped the game tonight?

What's an out-of-towner to do??? Pay $60 for NHL Center Ice to watch one game?

pplc said...

We will win tonight with goals from Russian Machine Never Break and from his sidekick - Russian Little Engine That Could

Anonymous said...

James and any others in that situation- check out channelsurfing.net or myp2p.eu, you should find it there (requires Windows Media Player).

Shaggy said...

The Center Ice schedule is listing the BOS-MON at 7:00pm tonight - now, they say it is subject to change, and since BOS-MON is already being shown on VS, I would imagine WAS-PHI would be on Center Ice. (in areas not subject to blackout)
Anyone having any more info on Center Ice's antics, please post. I'm freaking out man, I'm freaking OUT.

bigonetimer said...

we'll be fine if we continue to ratchet up our play: eliminate breakdowns in the defensive zone, put pucks on net, get some traffic in front of Biron.

I think we've seen the best the Flyers have to offer. And Knuble's injury is huge for them--more than glad to see Riley Cote or Steve Downie instead of him (but not for the reason at hand, mind ya!)

Hopefully AO got a full view of Forsberg on Saturday--he was incredible; Caps could learn a thing or two watching the Avs play so well with a lead

Anonymous said...

anyone know what channel the game will be sown on directv for out of towners with center ice?

grapejoos said...

In NYC, my cable company's schedule says it will be Caps/Flyers tonight; is it wrong? I have Center Ice, but I can't watch the game live, so I'm just trying to figure out what channel I need to record. Stupid job.

grapejoos said...

Err, I meant it shows Caps/Flyers for VS/VS HD. Is it getting bumped nationwide?

Tyler said...

MTL-BOS Game Seven is the Versus game everywhere. WSH-PHL is available on CSN in DC/PHL and on CI, etc. everywhere else.

JP said...

Today's "Kumbaya" moment.

Tyler said...

That is the weirdest story ever. I mean, WTF?! THAT'S the key thing in this series right now, the thing that MOST needs to be written about?!?!

JP said...

Agreed. That's more of a "pre-series" than a "pre-Game 6" story.

pepper said...

@ grapejoos - I'm in the same boat. I live in Queens and set the box to record VS HD this morning, which showed our game at 7. (I won't get home until 1st int.) I think I will now have to go back home just to re-set to record both the CI channel and VS to be safe.

Scott said...

Shew, if the pressure is on Philly I don't know what it is that has my stomach in knots today...must be that thai food from last night. Last time I ever eat thai food before season deciding hockey games.

grapejoos said...

pepper,
The game isn't even on Center Ice's schedule at the moment, yet BOS-MTL is. Surely the NHL isn't going to ensure that a critical game featuring its biggest star can't be seen anywhere other than Washington or Philly. Right????

Rage said...

I'm sure it will be aired on either 431 on Time Warner in NYC (I'm in Brooklyn) or on Versus. I wouldn't sweat it too much.

James said...

I'm back - I talked to a lot of people this morning, from the Caps' media office (Julie was very helpful) to DirecTV to the NHL itself.

According to Jesse at the NHL's media dept., if you are out of market - the only place for you to watch tonight's game is Center Ice. I coughed up $59 - I suppose that's cheaper than a ticket. If you're in Philly or DC, you'll get it on CSN. If you're in Canada, you'll get it on TSN.

Hope that's helpful. For what it's worth - the best place to watch it if you're out of town would be a big sports bar that you're sure has Center Ice.

JP said...

Non-Caps-related stat of the day:

"Phil Kessel (age 20), Milan Lucic (age 19) and Vladimir Sobotka (age 20) each scored a goal for the Bruins in Game Six. It was the third playoff game in NHL history in which three players on one team not yet 21 years old scored goals. The previous two performances were both by the Oilers in 1981: Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey and Jari Kurri on April 8 at Montreal, and Coffey, Kurri and Mark Messier on April 20 versus the Islanders."

So in the spring of 1981 the Oilers had Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Kurri and Anderson, all under 21-years-old. And I thought the Caps sub-25 foundation of Ovechkin, Semin, Green and Backstrom was good...

Dan, Jr. said...

Ovechkin is bound to get a goal tonight. He's getting closer and closer. The Flys can't shut down everybody, while three of their guys ride Ovie. When the other Cap's score, they draw away some of the attention from Alex "Don't Stop Me Now" Ovechkin.

kb said...

@ JP,

Loved this line from The Herald's coverage of game 6, "Sturm was the only Bruins goalscorer who could legally celebrate the thrilling victory with a beer."

JP said...

There wasn't a single Caps goalscore in Game 2 who could legally have a beer afterwards, so there!

bigonetimer said...

my sentiments exactly, dan jr. #8 is due.

I think Brash's line is going to play a big role tonight--wouldnt be suprised to see a tilt between Cote and Brash if momentum is swinging one way or the other...

Soulie said...

The best place in the area for tonight's game is Bugsy's in Old Town. I'll be there with my russian Ovechkin jersey on.

At his point, I'm not all that concerned if they don't win tonight. Games 4 and 5 showed great strides for the team. If they play the same and lose, hats off to the Flyers. And if not, JP, Sect. 419, row D, seat 13 owes you a beer tomorrow.

Sam said...

does any one know where to get that "dont stop belvin" capitals logo?
i cant seem to find it anywhere on the internet

DeCeV said...

Hi caps fans,

I'm pulling for you so very very hard. I won't be able to live with myself if the Flyers get to the second round. I've been stuck watching these games since Wednesday and I get more pissed at Hartnell and company each time. Do it.

Go Pens.
Go Caps for now.

DeCeV said...

PS I never knew Mike Green was such a beast. Dude is playing with a fire under his ass.

Rage said...

Here's a link

That's one source. I'm not sure who made it or where you can find the "original".

Rage said...

Note, the above post is for Sam. It's of the DSB logo.

Terpgrrl said...

For all those out-of-towners looking for the Caps game, word on the street is that it will be on DirecTV center ice on channel 770. I've actually been getting center ice for free(!) with my Comcast Digital cable, so for any of you out of market with Comcast, give it a shot! Everyone I know with Comcast has been getting it for free for the past month or more.

And I'm always a mess before every crucial game, so I always feel the pressure! haha

Go Caps!

Scott said...

Dude I'm nervous...I've gone to the bathroom like 6 times today.

breed16 said...

@turpgirl

WHAT!?!?! My Center Ice Preview actually went out at 7 PM on the Saturday of the Caps-Kats division clincher. How are you still getting it? (I am in NYC, Time Warner cable)

kb said...

@ Scott.

It's not a going problem. It's a growing problem.

Scott said...

@kb -

It's something, and it's not pretty

James said...

The dude I talked to at the NHL offices in New York said they were supposed to be running a free Center Ice preview for the first few games of the playoffs but that it was buggy and some areas didn't get it at all, and I guess some are still getting it.

Terpgrrl said...

@Breed16

I've also been getting the MLB Extra Innings package since the start of the season. I think Comcast has dropped the ball somewhere!! haha

I've watched all the playoff games so far on our free preview, except for the Flames/Sharks game last night, which of course I wanted to watch!! It wasn't on any CI channel!