Sloppy Capitals Come Up Blank

After a late-season surge puts the Capitals in the NHL's postseason for the first time in five years, the Flyers score a power-play goal in overtime of Game 7 to win the series.
By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 14, 2008

Bruce Boudreau first sensed his Washington Capitals might be in for a tough afternoon during warm-ups as he watched Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Biron turn aside shot after shot.

Boudreau's fears were realized a short time later.

Biron was unbeatable, particularly early, and the rest of the Flyers were relentless for 60 minutes at Verizon Center, where they stifled Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals, 2-0, to knot this best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at one game apiece.

"You could tell [Biron] was going to be good," Boudreau said. "But there was a sense of urgency about their team that they just thought they should have won the last game, and they played better than us."

After a below-average Game 1 performance, Biron made 24 stops to deal the Capitals their first loss in nine games and ninth playoff shutout loss in the team's history.

But Biron, who has shutouts in three of his last four starts, wasn't the Capitals' only problem.

The power play went 0 for 6, mustering just eight shots. Passes missed their intended targets. They yielded 41 shots (32 in the final 40 minutes) and were sloppy in other phases of the game: A bad line change contributed to the Flyers' first goal and a turnover led to the second.

Ovechkin, meantime, was held in check, limited to five shots on goal in 26 minutes 45 seconds, two days after lifting the Capitals to a dramatic 5-4 Game 1 victory.

"I didn't like how much he played," Boudreau said of Ovechkin's game-high amount of ice time among forwards. "He gets it in his head 'I can do it,' and most nights he can. [But] he looked a little tired, [and] he looked a little frustrated as well because he wasn't getting the puck and they were all on him."

Game 3 is tomorrow at Wachovia Center, where the Capitals were 2-0 during the regular season.

"Give them credit," Boudreau said. "They made us look bad in a lot of ways. They took advantage of their chances in the first period and, once they got the lead, felt they'll be damned if they're going to let the lead slip away like it did in Game 1."

The Capitals controlled the opening minutes, but the Flyers grabbed a 1-0 lead thanks to a spectacular play by Braydon Coburn and R.J. Umberger and a poor line change.

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