Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Washington hits a wall

After a remarkable run, where destiny seemed to smile on their every move, the Washington Capitals are starting to return to a landscape where things don’t always fall into place.

The last few games with the Philadelphia Flyers have been a frustrating educational process for the young and enthused Caps, their star player Alexander Ovechkin has been shut down, normally a rather talkative and expressive fellow, the last few days have seen him keeping a lower profile as the pressure builds on the overachieving Caps.

Philadelphia thrilled their hometown crowd with that traditional mix of physical play, solid defense and tenacious play in the opposition end. The play featured a return to form for Daniel Briere, who finally gave the Flyer crowd some sizzle for their Philly steaks, ringing up a beauty of a goal and starting off a rapid scoring spree by the Flyers that left the Caps reeling for a good portion of the first period, he also tallied goal number four on the night a Cap killer as things turned out. Briere, who has caught fire in this series, is providing Flyer fans with some visual evidence of just what the Flyers had in mind when they brought him aboard.

While the Caps made a charge late in the game, it was turned back quickly when the Flyers picked up a couple of insurance goals to secure the 6-3 final. Washington never seemed to have the time to get set or the space to work with, as the Flyers were quick to the puck, and quick to anticipate the Capitals next move.

Spurred on by a crowd whipped to a frenzy by an opening anthem that featured clips of Kate Smith intertwined with Flyer anthem singer Lauren Hart, the first playoff game since 2006 seemed to take the crowd and the Flyers back to their halcyon days of playoff battles of the past.
The home folk will get another chance to relive those days and create some memories for today when game four. It’s going to be a frenzy that the Capitals will need to adjust to, if they have any designs on prolonging their remarkable run of the last few months.

Globe and Mail-- Caps can't contain Briere
Washington Post-- Bullied on Broad Street
Washington Post-- Time for the Backup Plan
Washington Times-- Brotherly Shove
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Briere scores 2, Flyers lead series
. Stats Pack

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