Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Game 7: Flyers @ Caps

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats - WashingtonCaps.com Postgame - AP Preview]

Yesterday I asked four questions (not the same ones we asked Saturday night, incidentally):

Could the Flyers keep Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin from adjusting their sites and finding the net for a big goal (or two... or three...) in Game Six?

They couldn't, and the pair scored the game-tying, game-winning and game-icing goals.

Could the Flyers continue to win games with production from basically one line?

They couldn't, as they could only muster a pair of power play goals, one by first-liner Danny Briere to keep the top line's goal-scoring clip at 50% of Philly's total.

Could the Flyers continue to win games with Martin Biron stopping less than 90% of the shots he's facing?

Biron actually saved exactly 90% of the shots he faced and was a wall for a period and a half, but his .857 save percentage over the game's final two periods proved insufficient.

Finally, could the Flyers sweep all three home games in the series by winning and ending the series?

They couldn't, and now they've got to come back to D.C. for Game Seven in the midst of the epic collapse we talked about on Friday and the Caps have now twice in the series erased two-goal deficits and gone on to win the games (Games One and Six), and, of course, have erased a two game series lead.

Some quick thoughts on Game Six:
  • A couple of possible injuries to keep an eye on, most notably to Mike Green (which is potentially huge) and Tom Poti (who says he'll play tonight), but Eric Fehr may also have been nicked up. A Fehr injury would open the door for a Chris Clark "Willis Reed" moment... that won't happen.
  • I feel like if I had a dime for every big save Cristobal Huet has made in the last three games, I could pay for tomorrow night's ticket with the change.
  • You know the whole team's buying in when... Nicklas Backstrom has two hits, including one on Derian Hatcher.
  • Ovechkin's line: two goals (including the game-winner), plus-one, nine shots on goal... no hits? Hmm.
  • I now know why Biron holds up every glove save he makes for everyone in the arena to see - it's because he's the most surprised guy in the house that he made the stop.
  • Semin and Backstrom have great chemistry. Ovechkin and Backstrom have great chemistry. My guess is that anyone and Backstrom would have great chemistry. Kid's legit (newsflash).
  • Briere is back to his regular season ways, posting a minus-three rating.
  • The Caps had 11 giveaways, the Flyers had 16.
  • Philly won 57% of the draws on the night, with no Caps' pivot faring any better than 50% (Sergei Fedorov was 9-for-18).
  • Steve Eminger and John Erskine were each plus-three. Erskine had five hits and each played more than 17:30. That's called raising your game.
  • Great look at the Scottie Upshall dive (h/t grapejoos), and if the Caps win tonight, be prepared to see a lot of that head-snappin' action next series.
  • Brooks Laich had a pair of assists, six shots on goal and an unlucky penalty. He continues to be un hombre con machismo.
So it's on to Game Seven at home.

Finally, you'll be seeing this a lot today, so enjoy it a time or two here as well:

48 comments:

JP said...

Oh, and I'll be pre-gaming at Bar Louie at the Verizon Center, so stop on by and say hello - I'll be in a red Backstrom t-shirt over white sleeves and sporting a red Nats cap, on backwards (hey, I if it ain't broke, I aint' fixin' it).

Ben said...

Oh Biron...

Is it me or was the only Caps goal that he had no business stopping the fourth one? The second one in particular was softer than Sidney Crosby.

Is that the outdoor bar on the sidewalk or one indoors? I'll be wearing some Flyers ensemble, no doubt, but I don't know the specifics. I was leaning toward a discontinued, playerless orange one, but I fear it's a little too 1988.

Ben said...

Oh, you all have your youtube Dale Hunter stuff, but I have my VHS of "Never Say Die," which follows the Flyers' 1988-1989 season in absolutely nauseating detail (what they did for fun in Winnipeg, etc). The relevant part of this tape is the win over the regular season division champion Caps in the first round.

It's all I have right now.

JP said...

It's the indoor one, by the movie theatre box office.

And I wouldn't be particularly embarrassed by giving up a breakaway goal to the best goal scorer on the planet.

JP said...

Per Peerless, and further to a point Ben made in the comments last night:

"Martin Biron has tended goal in the second half of five back-to-back sets of games this year. His record...


0-5, 5.95, .822"

Ben said...

I love that Biron has that stat the first post season we don't have a Flyers goalie controversy...

JP said...

Who knew so many University of Maryland alums moved to Montreal?

Rage said...

I really, really, really, really wish I was living in DC and not in Brooklyn right now... really, really, really, really, really.

(We now return to the JP and Ben show)

JP said...

Hey, don't blame us for being early risers.

And how do you know JP isn't Ben? Or Rage, for that matter. Perhaps all of these commentors are just my multiple personalities with the exception of you reading this right now.

Ben said...

Exactly, rage...

Like generally agreeable Flyers fan wouldn't be fictional...

Boodgiesdad said...

I believe that the Caps fans need to follow BB's advice: "We haven't won anything" yet. the 7-th man needs to put the Flyers fans to shame tonight, both in terms of class, (no challenge there), and decibels. Ben, I specifically exclude you from the classless reference.

I posted on a Flyers message board just before the series that the Fillies need to chant as a mantra "must stop Ovechkin, must stop Ovechkin", over and over, knowing that they'd try and fail. For a while it looked like I'd eat those words, and you have to give them credit, but nobody is going to shut him down for 7.

I can't help but think he's got more to do tonight....

Paul said...

Semin has raised his game in a way I didn't he was capable of, but to me the biggest surprise in this series has been Erskine. He's been a rock, better even than Morrisonn. Rarely out of position, and he seems to be moving better than he did during the season. And what a sweet hip check by Green, followed by the menacing glare.

JP said...

Not to call these Flyers chokers, but en route to coughing up two-goal leads in Games 1 and 6...

Danny Briere may be leading the playoffs in goals (6) and points (10), but he has just one goal and one helper in the third period and OT in the series.

Martin Biron has been good at times, but his third period save percentage is just .885.

By contrast, Alex Ovechkin has three third period goals (two game-winners) and a third period helper and Cristobal Huet's third period save percentage is .954.

I guess some guys are clutch and some aren't.

Paul Nichols said...

What can you say? I've been saying they need to re-create '88 for since game 4.

Now, let's just not go to OT. My heart can't take it.

I'm laying it out there right now.
Caps win tonight, 4 - 1 .

Paul Nichols said...

" they need to re-create '88 for since game 4."

Duh. Damn those PG County public skools....

JP said...

Oh, and I agree with Paul - Green's no-stick hip check was awesome.

Rage said...

When was Green hurt? I don't remember seeing anything.

Brooksie hitting Poti looked painful. Might as well have thrown a jar of peanut butter at him, Brooks.

NS said...

wth happen to Green? and Fehr for that matter? i know they mentioned on the broadcast that there were a few members missing from the bench towards the end of the game, but they left it at that.

hopefully Tarek has some updates for us soon...

Ben said...

Oh, and I agree with Paul - Green's no-stick hip check was awesome.

Nobody is better than Sami Kapanen at giving the opposing team momentum by getting creamed.

But he's a resilient little fucker. Gets up to keep the play alive in OT:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frAqoeHix5s

b.orr4 said...

This game tonight scares the crap out of me. I've already envisioned at least twenty different scenarios of how our hearts can be collectively ripped from our chests. I hope Bruce and Sergei and Olie are ramming it home about how they haven't won anything yet. As to Green, I'm still trying to figure out when he got hurt. His last shift was with one minute left in the third, so I don't know how bad it could be.

smitty said...

The Times is reporting that Green missed a couple of shifts and left the bench due to a skate issue - not an injury. He's fine.

And Poti was shaken up, but claims he'll be good to go tonight.

Ben said...

Caps have had an incredibly clean series injury-wise.

I'm jealous.

Knuble would have been huge on that 5-on-3.

JP said...

@ Ben: Jeff Schultz was sixth on the team in TOI during the regular season (among guys who started the series), and he's missed a bunch of time in this series, but all things considered, they've been fortunate.

And Michael Nylander, Chris Clark and Brian Pothier would have helped the Caps too (as would Simon Gagne for you guys, of course), so don't be too jealous of our health.

Tyler said...

If Mike Green had a broken arm the team would say he had a skate problem.

Ben said...

Green has had a LOT of equipment problems this series, it seems.

Maybe his hair gel is rusting his blades?

Tyler said...

If you have a skate problem, you don't miss all but one shift in the last eight minutes of a game. (Or whatever it was -- that's about right.) Color me skeptical.

BTW, did anyone notice that 52 had a 2:41 shift last night?

(Aside: Is Ben really a Philly fan? Or is he just a creation of some WSHer who's trying to act like a stereotypically moronic PHL schlub?)

Chemmy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chemmy said...

Wrong link, oops!

Oh Cristobal, save us all!

Boodgiesdad said...

I prefer to believe that Ben is real. It helps me have faith in the human race to know that not all Flyers fans are as they appear...

hotdog88gt said...

A few of the Caps took some hellacious hits last night. Gordon, Green, AO all got hit hard. The hit on AO was pretty close to a charge.

shaggy said...

If a 2 goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey, then a five on three is the most psychologically damaging of PP's when you DON'T score. talk about turning points - Steckel was a god on the PK.

Ben said...

I'm nowhere near this classy in-arena. I'll chant "Fuck Ovechkin" and "Asshole" with everyone else, smiling from ear to ear.

I just dont see the point of being a jackass on the internet.

sonia said...

@chemmy: i've had that running for about five minutes. that's hilaaaaaaarious!

JJ said...

@Paul, amen to the Alex Semin comment. It's really amazing to see a player who was so frustratingly inconsistent over the course of the season turn into a completely different beast in the last month, and particularly this series.

Sergei's influence perhaps? Whatever it is, Semin consistently playing the way he has instantly takes us up a level or two as a team.

Nicholas said...

@ ben : its called keyboard toughness, didn't you know all the cool kids are doing it?

NS said...

random question:

say that Clark is completely out of the equation next year, who do you name your new Captain and 2 Alternates?

JP said...

@ NS: I don't know why he would be out of the equation, but I'll play along.

C - Laich
A - Ovechkin
A - Brashear

The only other candidate for C is Ovie, I'd think. Other candidates for A's include Poti, Nylander, Fedorov (if here), Morrisonn and Bradley, in my book.

grapejoos said...

My captains:

C - Ovechkin
A - Poti
A - Brashear

I agree with JP's runners up. Fedorov should be an A but I wouldn't take it away from Poti, and Fedorov doesn't need the letter (same could be said for Ovie). Bradley has really stepped up this postseason.

NS said...

JP - the question popped in my head after listening to another Laich interview. he needs at least an A on his jersey next year.

Scott said...

My captain:
Morgan

BTW, it looked like a damn football game last night...i've never seen so many lids come off. I know I counted at least 4 times a Cap lost his helmet.

sonia said...

any updates on the brooklyn game watching? rage?

Rage said...

Sonia, I've tried to get people together on HF but am not hearing anything back from anyone.

I'm thinking this is a failed quest since only one or two people are interested. If you have any other ideas, feel free to post them and I'll make sure to watch the blog vigilantly for the rest of the day.

sonia said...

some people from the caps boards are meeting up at a place called Blondie's, at 212 W. 79th in manhattan.

http://boards.washingtoncaps.com/index.php?showtopic=66316&st=45

pass it along!

Rage said...

Thanks for the heads up, Sonia. I think I'll try and meet up with you all on the UWS for the Pittsburgh games :)

Btw, if you have any leads about housing up on the UWS (that's where you are), let me know. Need to move out by June 1.

abagrawal at gmail dot com

Oly_for_Olie said...

Random Thoughts from the Left Coast:

1) Would someone give Brian Engblom an eyebrow pencil? That look is scaring me and it's not good for the house plants.

2) No matter what Brer Bear and Brer Fox do, no one can stop Brer Rabbit aka #28.

3) Two words that bring a smile to my face - Red Jesus.

4) If Wilson High hockey has a fund drive next year, I'm going to up this year's donation by every goal the Caps win by tonight. DON"T LET ME DOWN, BOYS!

Anonymous said...

Joffrey Lupul.

Hazardous said...

is a douchebag. is the end of that sentence.

K-Mart said...

actually he's just a bit more clutch than the caps are. :-)