Saturday, April 19, 2008

Capitals catch on, catch fire

It’s taken a few hard lessons at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers, but the Washington Capitals finally found the formula to get their playoff trek back on track Saturday afternoon.

Washington played a more physical style in game five, creating space for some of their high profile forwards to work in and sending a message to Philadelphia that two can play the body.

The hit parade was led by Alexander Ovechkin, who while being held off the score sheet still proved to be a pivotal player on Saturday, delivering a crushing hip check on Jim Dowd, electrifying the Washington crowd and his own team as well.

It’s a facet of Ovechkin’s game that sometimes gets overlooked with his offensive statistics, but his hard hits sometimes prove as valuable if not more valuable than his plethora of goals.

He wasn’t alone on the Washington bench in the ability to take the play to the Flyers for the first time in two games, a change of thinking that provided for the Caps second win of the series with the 3-2 victory.

The more physical play led to careless Philadelphia penalties which provided the Caps with a number of power play opportunities, which they capitalized on twice.

Christobal Huet also raised his game from his last couple of outings, providing key saves at critical times to stop the Flyers from gaining the equalizer and possibly finishing off the series with a win.

Washington will have to continue with their physical thinking as they head for Philadelphia and game six on Monday, where they will face a crowd that enjoys its hard hitting hockey. Of course, in Philly they like it a lot more when the home team is dishing out the hits and the visitors are left on the losing end of the score.

The Capitals task will be to make sure that the Flyer faithful go home disappointed on Monday night.

Globe and Mail-- Capitals stay alive
Washington Post-- Hanging Tough
Washington Times-- Down, but not out
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Flyers looking for close-out win
. Stats Pack

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