[UPDATED with media] Game 3: Postgame from Capitals @ Flyers
– If the only thing Mike Richards contributed tonight was the assist on Danny Briere’s power play goal, it would have been a good night for the future captain. The interception with five minutes remaining in the third that translated to a penalty shot demonstrated Richards’ keen ability to anticipate his opposition. The penalty shot itself demonstrated the ice water that runs through his veins. The future looks bright on Broad Street.
– No more discussion about Danny Briere’s so-called poor season allowed. All he needed was a proper linemate, which he finally received at the trade deadline in the form of Vinny Prospal. Besides, he performed well enough to get the team into the playoffs and has blasted through Huet ever since. 4 goals, 2 assists, plus-5, with a 33.3% shot percentage.
– The Flyers spent significant blocks of time killing penalties tonight. It stymied their momentum early in the game, and left the team without much gas in the tank as the game wore on. The Flyers can’t resist the Capitals offensive drives forever. They absolute must find ways to avoid the other men clad in black and orange.
– Patrick Thoresen deserves a medal, an award, a purple heart – give the guy something! He laced them up tonight, missing only one game after blocking a shot that cracked his cup. How he’s skating, I don’t know. Amazing that he managed a steal late in the third that led to drawing a Washington penalty.
– Before this game, fans in Philly probably would have spoken highly of Alexander Ovechkin, despite the game-winning goal in Game 1. Most appreciate his abilities, the energy and excitement with which he plays; they would just prefer he exercise it against teams other than the Flyers. But after tonight’s exhibition, I suspect the boo birds may be a permanent fixture when Ovechkin comes to town in the future.
It’s hard for me to decide whether he dove after his toes collided with those of RJ Umberger. I’m too emotionally involved to make that call because I love the Flyers and I genuinely love Ovechkin (as previous posts in this blog prove). But the sheer quantity of movement – spins, rolls, acrobatics, and jack knifing – suggest that he put significant effort into his fall. The Flyers certainly felt it was a dive; Mike Richards screamed taunts at Ovechkin, urging him to stop faking and stand up. I truly hope the embellishment was the mistake of a young player, desperate to give his team a chance to win, and not the beginnings of the circus sideshow named Sidney Crosby. Hockey is built on hard work and toughness, and it damages the game when marquis players indulge in antics to draw penalties.
– I’m trying to think positively on Kimmo Timonen, that it will be as mild an “upper body injury” as possible. Losing the team’s best defensemen mid-series never bodes well. However, the Flyers do have Kukkonen and Parent in their arsenal to fill the roster spot. Even more importantly, Derian Hatcher gave a strong performance in his return to the lineup (only a month after breaking his leg while blocking a shot, I might add). Defending Ovechkin’s line won’t be easy without Timonen, but it isn’t impossible.
[UPDATE] According to Bill Meltzer of NHL.com and Hockeybuzz.com, Kimmo Timonen’s wrist x-rays were negative. Stevens and Holmgren basically said they’ll know more tomorrow. My guess – best case scenario we see him Thursday. Worst case scenario he’s out until at least the next round.