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Game 4: Postgame Capitals @ Flyers

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just a few quick thoughts as it is quite late after the second overtime.

1. The Caps were the better team tonight.  They won the majority of the battles.  They had energy, momentum, and desire on their side.  They had the better goaltender.  The game came down to capitalizing on mistakes.  The Caps did not (think Ovie’s missed open net) and the Flyers did (Briere’s PPG on the Washington bench minor).  I can’t imagine the frustration in that locker room right now.

2. Danny Briere’s play tonight mirrors the way the Flyers played overall.  A weak, undisciplined first period.  Second period, he just musters enough to make a save to cover Biron, but otherwise it’s another disappearing act.  Third period strengthens, scores a power play goal, and gathers speed.  Strong first OT.  Then in the second OT, he launches the strong shift by that entire line.  Immediately after that shift, the Carter line comes out, delivers another strong shift, and they score the game winner.

3. Jeff Carter – hands down player of the game.

4. The Flyers’ fourth line consists of three unsung heroes.  They brought energy to every shift, spending oodles of time buzzing about Huet and battling along the boards.  Regardless of what Bill Berg might suggest on The Fan 590’s Hockeycentral at Noon, Patrick Thoresen is a stud.  After the blow he took in Game 1, he’s returned in Games 3 and 4 with a vengeance, showing incredible strength and determination in puck battles.  Jim Dowd and Sami Kapanen may not have great scoring ability at this point in their careers, but can they ever play.

5.  Joffrey Lupul quietly had a terriffic game.  As did Jason Smith, who did some excellent checking work on Ovechkin throughout the game.

6. Ovie=one frustrated player.  One shot on goal.  6 missed shots – one of which came on a wide open net.  A turnover and blown checking assignment on Mike Knuble directly leads to game winner for Philadelphia.  His assist tonight overshadowed by all these things. 

We all know Ovie loves to score goals.  Can he shift his game as Jaromir Jagr has to drawing the opposition to him so his linemates can get themselves into position?  I don’t know that he’s reached that maturity level.  And I think he’s way too distracted attempting to draw a penalty on Timonen to notice the holes he usually uncovers.

But the end result is what counts, and the Flyers have taken the 3-1 series lead.


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