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Game 4: The Intermission Blog

Thursday, April 17, 2008

HOOOOLY COW!!!!!!       FLYERS WIN!!!!  FLYERS WIN!!!!!   FLYERS WIN!!!!!!

Jamming and grinding in the crease leads to the Flyers win halfway through the second OT.  Mike Knuble scores – it’s a dirty goal from a gritty guy.  Couldn’t have happened to a better player on the squad.  Way to steal a game, fellas. 

And we’re headed back to Washington on Saturday.

1st Overtime.  And we’re headed towards a second.  Tons of end to end rushes for both teams.  Great saves at both ends of the ice.  Ovechkin only played 18 minutes in regulation, so he’s got energy coming out his ears.  Semin cross-checked Richards in the mouth – no penalty called.  Female Flyer fans will be pleased to hear the check left Richards’ pearly whites intact.  One of the Caps went down and stayed down with seconds remaining – I couldn’t see who and the Flyers broadcast hasn’t yet mentioned it.

GO FLYERS GO!!!!!

Third Period.  Going to OT on Briere power play goal, scored during penalty for Washington-too many men.

– Flyers have jump back in their step after Briere goal.  Big poke checks and blocks from the defense men.

– Both goaltenders make huge saves to keep score at 3.  Huet had an amazing diving glove/blocker save on Scottie Upshall.  Biron flashes glove at the other end.

– Ovie wandering around.  Puck following him a lot.  But the one time he got free of defender, Biron down and out, wide open net – HE MISSED WIDE BY A FOOT.

– Give credit to the crowd in Philly.  They hung with this team through an ugly second period and an ugly opening to the third.  No boo birds (except for Ovie, of course).  Supporting the team strong through the end of the period.

Second Period.  Steve Eminger scores to give Washington 3-2 lead.

– Washington wants it more.  They’re winning all the puck battles along the boards, in the middle of the ice, in the crease.  They aren’t steamrolling yet, but the Flyers need to change momentum and fast.

– Carter making incredible defensive plays, taking so much time and space away from the Capitals.

– News flash to anyone who thinks the Flyers are the only guys who pull punches behind the play: John Erskine can be equally sneaky.  Several whacks to Timonen as the Finn tried to make a change.  Dumps Knuble away from the play in the Caps’ zone.  Interference should have been called on both but missed by the refs.

– Timonen doing an excellent on Ovie as usual.  Ovechkin is going down too easily for my comfort.  He’s an extremely strong 6’1″ guy.  A small bump from a guy Timonen’s size shouldn’t cause full body sprawls.  I’d understand if it happened once, but four times?  In one period?  Please.  Refs haven’t bought into it yet, fortunately.

– Biron had no chance on Eminger’s goal – screened shot and at least one deflection.  Couple huge saves on Ovie from all sides and on Federov and Semin.  HUGE save on Mike Green point shot to end period.

– Halfway through, Biron got caught out of position on a 2-on-1.  Semin almost bangs one home, but Briere makes HUGE SPRAWLING PLAY.  Saves the game and puts more spark in the Flyers’ step.

– Hatcher hitting everything in sight.  Draws retaliation penalty from Mike Green.  Also nails Semin (who’s also taken a few big ones from Jason Smith), who struggles to get up while the play continues.  Semin didn’t take another shift in the last minutes of the period, but didn’t leave the bench either.

– Overall, Flyers improved on first period play.  But they’re waiting on their heels too often.  They must win a few puck battles and start spending more time in the Caps’ zone if they want to take the 3-1 series lead.  Richie and Carter lines doing far better with possession . . . BUT it takes a village in Flyers country to win a game.

First Period.  Washington 2 – Flyers 2.  Washington goals from Backstrom and Semin, both on power play.  Flyers goals both from Carter at even strength.

-The Flyers should count themselves extremely fortunate to be tied at 2.  I’ve said time and again that defeating the Capitals means 60 minutes of energetic hockey, never letting up on the attack.  The Flyers – especially Briere and Prospal – struggled to control the puck frequently.  They look composed but lack intensity.  They need to dig deeper for that next level to win.

– Caps are doing as expected – increased traffic in front of Biron on the power play and better at clogging their own crease.  They were rewarded with two goals as a result.

– Whatever you might say about Biron (how would this game change with a big glove save on Backstrom?, for example), he’s making some big ones tonight.  Stonewalled Ovechkin down low twice.  HUGE save on Semin with 40 seconds remaining in first.  Flyers also protecting him well from Brooks Laich & Co. without taking penalties.

– Carter is the best player on either end of the ice right now. 

– Danny Briere is pulling out his little frustration penalties.  They got him in trouble during the regular season, and they contributed to some team issues this period as well.

– WE NEED AN ENERGY BOOST!!!!  A hit, a big shift, a goal, a fight – you name it, we need it.  Upshall draws penalty, and that helped.  But we need more!  And soon.

– Carter shift that results in goal is exactly how the Flyers need to play all the time.  Keep the puck in their zone, crash the net, constant puck support, east-west movement.  You’ll be rewarded with goals and power plays every time.

– OV hit on Hatcher leads to Flyers trying to even up.   Flyers need to stop head hunting.  Keep ’em in front of you, boys.  It’s much harder for them to score if they can’t skate past you.

– Great muck work from Umberger, Lupul and then Richards leads to great scoring opportunity.  Now, do that all the time! 

While the zambonis resurface the ice tonight, stop in at The Frozen Fan.  I plan to post some mid-game thoughts here on the blog. 

Pregame.  According to Tarik al-Bashir, Capitals beat writer for the Washington Post, Bruce Boudreau has shuffled line combinations for this evening’s matchup.  That’s not surprising given the scoring frustrations of the last two games.  Ovechkin and Semin did not skate this morning, probably to conserve their energy for tonight.  Defenseman Jeff Schultz is out with back spasms due to an injury sustained in Game 3.

Lines are:

Ovechkin-Fedorov-Kozlov
Laich-Backstrom-Semin
Cooke-Steckel-Fehr
Brashear-Gordon-Bradley

Morrisonn-Green
Poti-Jurcina
Erskine-Eminger

The Flyers lineup will include Kimmo Timonen and Jaroslav Modry.  Modry’s father died yesterday – he had been terminally ill for the past several months.  Modry is expected to travel home for the funeral and may miss a few games as a result.  He’s a class act and consummate professional to play despite the emotional stress of his situation.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. sportsaddictforlife permalink
    Thursday, April 17, 2008 6:28 pm

    My condolences to Modry and his family.
    And best of luck to him tonight, not too many guys would be able to play so soon after losing a close relative.

    And intermission reports are good, especially since Versus has apparently blacked out yet another Playoff game. That’s already the third one… and this is only the first round!

  2. The Frozen Fan permalink
    Thursday, April 17, 2008 11:00 pm

    Yeah, Modry is a trooper. Masterson award nominee for the LA Kings.

    And Versus strikes again. Although ESPN wouldn’t even carry first round games, so which is the greater evil?

  3. sportsaddictforlife permalink
    Friday, April 18, 2008 8:04 am

    Well when you put it that way, ESPN is worse.

    Especially when you consider the fact that in the time slot for both (As in the duration of two complete hockey games) contests tonight they are just showing continuous SportsCenters.
    The “Worldwide Leader in Sports” thinks everyone would rather watch the hosts going over the same stuff they talked about only five minutes before than watch Playoff hockey?

    But at least ESPN puts something on. Versus literally just put a black screen up for the entire regulation time in the Flyers/Caps game (I think after that they switched over to the Flames/Sharks game).

  4. The Frozen Fan permalink
    Friday, April 18, 2008 9:08 am

    That’s odd. Versus blacks out the Flyers games so our regional sports network – Comcast SportsNet – can cover the game. But they usually put PBR or extreme fighting in that slot until they make the switch.

    Once, I was watching SportsCenter and they were showing highlights of Dustin Byfuglien scoring 5 goals as a defenseman in the Chicago-Phoenix game. The anchor kept pronouncing it incorrectly – Buf-oog-lee-an. At the end of the show, John Bouchegras (the only hockey guy at ESPN) actually called in to inform the anchors that it’s pronounced Buff-lin. And told them to check their media guides. Great TV.

  5. sportsaddictforlife permalink
    Friday, April 18, 2008 9:45 am

    I guess they didn’t have anything left to show. They used a ton of “TapOut” reruns to fill in the space last time.

    Ever been to ESPN’s website? Or any other ‘sports’ coverage website? Pretty much no one except NHL.com puts up any fresh hockey info more than once a week.
    I think the NCAA Frozen Four got more coverage than the Playoffs.

  6. The Frozen Fan permalink
    Friday, April 18, 2008 10:47 am

    Honestly, I don’t follow most other American sports site’s coverage of hockey for that very reason. It’s not worth my time. The Canadian networks, local newspapers, bloggers – all better by far.

    The Frozen Four got increased coverage because ESPN carried those games. ESPN makes a practice of spending more time on leagues it has coverage deals with than those on other networks. Right now, the NHL doesn’t have a deal with ESPN so it doesn’t get much time on any ESPN show. Unless of course the NHL wants to play in Yankee Stadium. In which case Mike and Mike will spend hours debating the issue, only to resolve that more stadiums should offer all-you-can-eat seating.

    John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal actually put out an interesting article recently about the relationship between ESPN and the various sports leagues: . His section on the NHL and ESPN highlights the main issues.

  7. The Frozen Fan permalink
    Friday, April 18, 2008 10:47 am

    http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/58375 – that’s the link

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