for this game

Green, Ovechkin lead third-period comeback

Apr 12, 2008 - 5:20 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- It was only a matter of time before Alex Ovechkin made his presence felt in the postseason.

Ovechkin scored his first career playoff goal late in the third period, snapping a tie and leading the Washington Capitals to a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday in Game One of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Defenseman Mike Green tallied twice earlier in the third to erase a two-goal deficit for the Capitals, who entered the postseason with a seven-game winning streak. The comeback marked the first time in franchise history Washington has won a playoff game when trailing by two goals in the third period.

"We never say die," Green said. "We always believe, and that was the case tonight. We had to stay aggressive. When we weren't aggressive, they took it to us. And when we were aggressive, we gave it to them. That was the difference."

Enforcer Donald Brashear and David Steckel also scored for Washington, which hosts Game Two on Sunday afternoon.

Daniel Briere and Vaclav Prospal each netted a pair of goals for the Flyers.

"We battled hard," Briere said. "The frustrating part is that we gave them a couple of goals that they didn't really have to work for. (There were) a couple of plays that I wish we could have (back), but overall, we played hard."

After leading the NHL in goals and points during the regular season, Ovechkin was kept off the scoresheet over the first two periods of his playoff debut.

"I thought we did a good job of containing him for the first 45 minutes," Philadelphia's Scottie Upshall said. "He had no shots for the first two periods.'

But the 22-year-old Russian superstar was a force in the third, setting up Green's second goal of the night that tied the game before making a brilliant play to put the Capitals ahead.

"(It) was one of the biggest goals of my career and winning goal in an important game for us," said Ovechkin, who led the league this season with 11 game-winners.

"I thought they held him in check pretty good, but he's one of those guys that, you know, you give him one chance and it's a really difficult job," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "As a team, I thought (the Flyers) did a great job on him. When he gets one turnover, he makes a great play. That's why he won some awards this year."

As Philadelphia's Lasse Kukkonen attempted to make a play from the low slot in his own zone, Ovechkin stole the puck from the defenseman, drifted to the right side and fired it past goaltender Martin Biron with 4:32 remaining, giving Washington a 5-4 lead.

"I came out sliding a little bit and I tried to throw everything at him," Biron said.

The Flyers refused to blame the loss on Kukkonen, who immediately slammed his stick on the ice following Ovechkin's goal.

"There are five guys out there who can help him out and get him out of trouble," Philadelphia defenseman Jaroslav Modry said. "We all try to do our best, but mistakes happen out there. He played a solid game, but we didn't manage the puck really well on that play. We've just got to do a better job."

"It's one of those situations where, 99 out of 100 times, he makes the right play," Flyers center Mike Richards added. "He's played great back there, blocking shots. He really stepped in when we had a few injuries. You've just got to put it behind you and move on."

While celebrating with his teammates, Ovechkin elicited chants of "MVP! MVP!" from the sellout crowd of 18,277 at the Verizon Center.

"It's amazing in sports how great moments follow great players," Boudreau said. "(They) just seem to be in the right place at the right time. If you're a star baseball player, it seems like you're coming to bat in the ninth inning with a runner on second base. Those are things that happen. It was his first playoff game and he finished it off OK."

Ovechkin was glad to put his first playoff game behind him, particularly because it was resulted in victory.

"I was so nervous," he said. "I can't even breathe right now, actually. Was good experience for us, though, a big win."

Prior to Ovechkin's superb play, Green took center stage for the Capitals. Also making his playoff debut, the blue-liner skated in from the right side and beat Biron before hurdling the netminder just 1:50 into the third, drawing Washington within 4-3.

Green, who led all NHL defensemen with 18 goals during the regular season, knotted the contest less than five minutes later, beating Biron to the glove side with a blast from the top of the right faceoff circle during a power play at 6:26.

"It was obviously exciting," Green said. "(On the first goal, Sergei) Fedorov had a great pass and I just had to put it upstairs. Then Alex read the play and saw that I was open and gave me the puck, so basically, I just had to put it in the net."

A former Flyer, Brashear opened the scoring at 3:16 of the first period. Defenseman Tom Poti's slap shot from the left point hit a skate and caromed to the right side of the net, and Brashear buried the puck for his third career postseason goal.

"I came from the bench and I was just going to the net with a simple play," Brashear said. "The rebound bounced off someone's skate and came right to me."

Prospal, who was acquired from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline, forged a tie at 8:17, beating Cristobal Huet with a shot from along the right wing boards while teammate Scott Hartnell screened the netminder.

Steckel restored Washington's lead at 4:08 of the second, taking a backhand pass from the right corner by Matt Bradley and beating Biron high to the glove side with a wrister from the right circle.

Briere then began a string of three straight goals by the Flyers midway through the period.

After exiting the penalty box, Briere received a pass at the Capitals' blue line and carried down the right wing before beating Huet at 11:46.

Prospal put a wrister from the slot between Huet's pads just 33 seconds later for a 3-2 advantage, and Briere - who signed an eight-year, $52 million contract last summer - converted a cross-crease pass from Richards during a power play with 4:38 left in the session to double the lead.

"You have to play the full 60 minutes," Steckel said. "They came at us in the second. We didn't necessarily let up, they just took the game over, and we have to learn from that."

Ovechkin was happy with Washington's ability to bounce back.

"We don't panic," he said. "We just keep it going. They beat us (in the) first and second period, but third period, we played our game."

Huet made 18 saves en route to his 10th consecutive win for the Capitals, who ended the regular season having won 11 of their last 12 games.

Biron stopped 22 shots for Philadelphia, which closed the campaign with a 7-1-1 mark.






  • SuketoKetchi Well that third period performance made me wanna vomit.

    Flyers 4, Capitals 5  FinalApr 11 11:14 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 1 3 0 4
    WASHINGTON 1 1 3 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - DONALD BRASHEAR 1 (MATT BRADLEY, TOM POTI) 3:16
    PHI - VACLAV PROSPAL 1 (KIMMO TIMONEN, SCOTT HARTNELL) 8:17
    2ND PRD: WAS - DAVID STECKEL 1 (MATT BRADLEY, JOHN ERSKINE) 4:08
    PHI - (PP) DANIEL BRIERE 1

    Apr 11 9:39 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 4
    WASHINGTON 5
    3RD PRD: WAS - ALEX OVECHKIN 1 (UNASSISTED) 15:28

    Flyers 4, Capitals 5  3rd - 4:32Apr 11 9:29 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 23 roots (Close Finish)

    Flyers 4, Capitals 5  3rd - 4:32Apr 11 9:29 PM
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    Flyers 4, Capitals 4  3rd - 6:18Apr 11 9:23 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 4
    WASHINGTON 4
    3RD PRD: WAS - (PP) MIKE GREEN 2 (ALEX OVECHKIN, NICKLAS BACKSTROM)
    6:26

    Flyers 4, Capitals 4  3rd - 13:34Apr 11 9:12 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 4
    WASHINGTON 3
    3RD PRD: WAS - MIKE GREEN 1 (SERGEI FEDOROV, ALEXANDER SEMIN) 1:50

    Flyers 4, Capitals 3  3rd - 18:10Apr 11 9:05 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 1 3 4
    WASHINGTON 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - DONALD BRASHEAR 1 (MATT BRADLEY, TOM POTI) 3:16
    PHI - VACLAV PROSPAL 1 (KIMMO TIMONEN, SCOTT HARTNELL) 8:17
    2ND PRD: WAS - DAVID STECKEL 1 (MATT BRADLEY, JOHN ERSKINE) 4:08
    PHI - DANIEL B

    Apr 11 8:42 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 4
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: PHI - DANIEL BRIERE 2 (MIKE RICHARDS, VACLAV PROSPAL) 15:22

    Flyers 4, Capitals 2  2nd - 4:38Apr 11 8:34 PM
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    Flyers 1, Capitals 2  2nd - 9:04Apr 11 8:26 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 3
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: PHI - VACLAV PROSPAL 2 (UNASSISTED) 12:19

    Flyers 3, Capitals 2  2nd - 7:41Apr 11 8:25 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 2
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: PHI - DANIEL BRIERE 1 (MIKE KNUBLE) 11:46

    Flyers 2, Capitals 2  2nd - 8:14Apr 11 8:25 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: WAS - DAVID STECKEL 1 (MATT BRADLEY, JOHN ERSKINE) 4:08

    Flyers 1, Capitals 2  2nd - 15:52Apr 11 8:08 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 1 1
    WASHINGTON 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - DONALD BRASHEAR 1 (MATT BRADLEY, TOM POTI) 3:16
    PHI - VACLAV PROSPAL 1 (KIMMO TIMONEN, SCOTT HARTNELL) 8:17
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHI 4

    Apr 11 7:44 PM
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    Flyers 1, Capitals 1  1st - 11:43Apr 11 7:31 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 1
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: PHI - VACLAV PROSPAL 1 (KIMMO TIMONEN, SCOTT HARTNELL) 8:17

    Flyers 1, Capitals 1  1st - 11:43Apr 11 7:26 PM
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    Flyers 0, Capitals 1  1st - 11:53Apr 11 7:25 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - DONALD BRASHEAR 1 (MATT BRADLEY, TOM POTI) 3:16

    Flyers 0, Capitals 1  1st - 16:44Apr 11 7:18 PM
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