Monday, April 14, 2008

Flyers shut out Caps; tie series

Capitals 0, Flyers 2

After the Capitals' 5-4 comeback win in Game 1 of this series the Flyers were admonished for only playing forty minutes of a sixty minute game. While that is indeed not an admirable characteristic, it's not really much better to adopt logic that the Capitals seem to have: that it's okay to only play a good twenty minutes as long they're the last twenty. The Capitals didn't get anything going Sunday afternoon until the opening minutes of the third period and even then it wasn't nearly enough to pull out a win. However, despite this I don't think the Capitals' effort was as poor as it seemed on the surface.

The story of yesterday's game was individual efforts: the Capitals were done in by mistakes by defensemen John Erskine and Mike Green and stymied offensively by the individual effort of Martin Brion, who made 24 saves. Without Erskine getting caught in front of R.J. Umberger and Green making a bad turnover, the Flyers don't get to dictate the rest of the game and without the efforts of Biron, the Caps probably net a pair. It's not that there aren't adjustments needed and it's not as if the Capitals deserved to win this game. I just think it wasn't as one-sided as it looked.

Regardless of that the Capitals did lose which means, for now at least, they've squandered their home ice advantage. The upcoming game in Philadelphia on Tuesday could end up being the make-or-break one for the Capitals. On the one hand they've still only lost back-to-back games once under Bruce Boudreau and that took some poor officiating and Nicklas Backstrom scoring into his own net to happen and the last time the Capitals lost they responded by reeling off an eight game winning streak. On the other hand, none of the games they played during that stretch were as difficult as the one on Tuesday is likely to be.

Quick Hits

  • I usually like the NBC broadcast team but they were definitely off today: it only 13 seconds for someone to mispronounce Shaone Morrisonn's name, Pierre Mcguire estimated that half the fans in attendance were rooting for the Flyers and Ed Olczyk had a number of errors: calling Scott Hartnell's goaltender interference penalty "incidental contact" despite that Hartnell, who was not pushed, bowled over Cristobal Huet well into the blue paint, adamantly calling a phantom elbow on Backstom and saying the the Flyers exploited the the blocker of Huet on the Flyers' second goal, a play on which Huet had no chance.

  • Show me a Capitals fan who was surprised it was John Erskine who got beat on the Flyers first goal and I'll show you a fan who doesn't know who John Erskine is.

  • Mike Green's played six period of playoff hockey. One was stellar, five have been terrible.

  • Sunday's game wasn't nearly as physical as Friday's: total hits decreased from 76 to 57.

  • The Capitals had 18 giveaways. The Flyers had 7.

  • Of the Capitals 18 giveaways, nine were by defensemen. The only Washington defenseman who did not have a giveaway was Shaone Morrisonn.

All photos AP/Getty by way of Yahoo!

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