for this game

Capitals edge Flyers, avoid elimination

Apr 19, 2008 - 10:46 PM
WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- After dominating early, the Washington Capitals were forced to hang on for their playoff lives.

Alexander Semin's power-play goal with 5:27 remaining in the third period proved to be the difference as the third-seeded Capitals staved off elimination Saturday by posting a 3-2 victory over the sixth-seeded Philadelphia Flyers in Game Five of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Sergei Fedorov had a goal and an assist, Nicklas Backstrom also scored and Semin also set up a tally for the Capitals, who still trail in the series, three games to two.

"I think we did a great job to get the win," the 20-year-old Backstrom said. "To win this game puts a bit of pressure on them. Hopefully, we can shake them next game. It's not going to be an easy game for them, it's going to be tough. We'll see what we can do."

Fedorov believes the tide has turned in the series, despite the fact his team must win Game Six in Philadelphia on Monday in order to force a seventh game at home.

"I think we have certain momentum right now," Fedorov said. "I think maybe those guys (the Flyers) have a wrong thought. They thought, 'Well, if we're not going to get anything done tonight, maybe we can finish at home.' I think that's a dangerous path."

However, Washington's Matt Bradley still knows his club has a huge task ahead of it.

"The pressure's still on us," he said. "We're down 3-2 in the series and we're going into their building. It's a must-win and we know what we have to do. Basically, it's time to play."

Defenseman Mike Green recorded two assists and Cristobal Huet made 30 saves for Washington, which had three power-play opportunities in the third period but was outshot, 21-6, in the session.

Vaclav Prospal and blue-liner Derian Hatcher scored for Philadelphia, which lost Game Four hero Mike Knuble for the remainder of the series to a hamstring injury. Knuble suffered the injury in the second period but took one shift in the third before sitting out the remainder of the contest.

"(It was) bad enough he couldn't play," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "He is a very tough guy, but he was unable to continue with the injury he sustained there. ... He's not going to play in the series, so we're going to have to make some adjustments to our line, bring another player in, have another look at our lines and figure it out for Monday."

Looking to become the 21st team to win a series after losing three of the first four games, the Capitals were awarded three power-play opportunities in the third but failed to convert the first two.

However, they made good on the third as Semin unleashed a wrist shot from the top of the slot that found its way through traffic and past goaltender Martin Biron at 14:33, giving Washington a 3-1 lead.

"If we can get traffic, eventually something good is going to happen," said Washington's Brooks Laich, who recorded an assist. "Our goal tonight was to get more pucks to the net."

"He played the best hockey he's played," Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin said of Semin. "Everybody has to do what they can to help us to win. ... Right now, we feel great."

Stevens knew the numerous penalties eventually would cost his team.

"There's an old saying - the squeaky wheel gets the grease," Stevens said. "There's no question you get shorthanded and it ends up being the difference at the end of the game. It's tough. We get too much time in the (defensive) zone, they get better players on the ice, more obviously in those power-play situations. ... They get two power-play goals here tonight, and that ends up being the difference."

The goal proved crucial as Philadelphia answered just 44 seconds later, when Hatcher's wrister from the high slot went between the pads of Huet, drawing the Flyers within a goal.

"Evidently, it was pretty important because one thing about the Flyers is, they don't quit," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said of Semin's goal. "In the third period, they came at us. It was real mental third for us to have our young guys keep composure with the effort the Flyers were giving."

Philadelphia made a frantic attempt to get the equalizer, but Huet turned aside the final six shots he faced to secure the victory for the Southeast Division champions.

"He stepped his game up," Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell said of Huet. "That first half of the game, we only had five shots, I think, so we made life pretty easy for him. The last half, he played pretty solid."

The Capitals knew it only would be a matter of time before the Flyers picked up their play.

"We knew they weren't going to go away," Bradley said. "They've been around us all series, so we knew it was going to be a 60-minute game and we had to play right until the last buzzer. It was just a battle right to the end, and I don't think we ever wavered."

"We were lucky to fight them off," Capitals defenseman Tom Poti added. "We were holding on a little bit, but we tried not to give up too many quality chances."

Despite the loss, the Flyers were encouraged by the effort in the third period.

"In the second half, we skated well and kept the puck in their zone, and the transition was good," Biron said. "In the first half (of the game), we were left behind on a lot of plays, and they were the ones with all the speed. ... Once we got going, once we adjusted, we did a good job."

"We have to give them credit for the way they came out," Philadelphia's Joffrey Lupul added. "Eventually, we matched it. We waited too long before we matched that intensity. If we'd have done it right from the opening puck drop, it might've been a different result."

Daniel Briere, who entered with a league-leading five goals this postseason, had a chance to give the Flyers an early lead. But he was denied by Huet on a breakaway opportunity five minutes into the contest.

That was Philadelphia's last shot on goal in the opening period as Washington controlled play for the remainder of the session.

"That's a good sign for our team, I think, when their shots are low," Huet said. "It means we're good on (the) forecheck and we have the puck on our stick."

"Our start was definitely better," said Washington enforcer Donald Brashear, a former Flyer. "If you play a game like that and you can't come out with energy, you're not going to win anything in your life."

Along the way, the Capitals cashed in on a 5-on-3 power play to take a 1-0 lead.

"They came out and (their) season's on the line, so they really came at us hard," Stevens said. "To me, that's a lesson we learned that won't happen again. We gotta come out and we gotta initiate."

From the left faceoff circle, Semin made a pass to Backstrom, who fired the puck into the net from alone on the right side of the crease at 7:31 for his second goal of the series.

"Semin, Backstrom and some of these younger guys are really playing good hockey right now," Boudreau said.

The Flyers recorded their first shot since Briere's breakaway just 31 seconds into the second period but went another 10 minutes without testing Huet. A mere 54 seconds after that initial shot, Washington doubled its lead.

Viktor Kozlov dished the puck from along the left wing boards to Fedorov, who moved from the left circle to the slot before beating Biron to the stick side with a backhander at 1:25 for a 2-0 bulge.

"The way it happened, I didn't see any alternatives, so I had to throw it the other way," Fedorov said. "It went in, so I'm happy."

"Like a fine wine, isn't he?" Boudreau asked regarding Fedorov. "He made plays, he slowed it down and he's good on the bench. He's the one yelling at the guys to calm down. He's been through the wars. He's got all our experience in the playoffs."

It was the 51st career playoff tally for Fedorov, whose holding penalty midway through the period allowed Philadelphia to halve its deficit.

With one second remaining on a two-man advantage created by Fedorov's infraction, Prospal converted a cross-crease pass by Briere from the left side with 7:25 to go for his third goal of the postseason.

Biron made 23 saves for the Flyers, who are 15-2 in series in which they opened a three-games-to-one lead.

"You work hard to build that 3-1 lead," Biron said. "We're still ahead and we're going to our building. I still feel that's a very good position to be in."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 1 1 2
    WASHINGTON 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) NICKLAS BACKSTROM 2 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, BROOKS
    LAICH) 7:31
    2ND PRD: WAS - SERGEI FEDOROV 1 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, MIKE GREEN) 1:25
    PHI - (PP) VACLAV PROSPAL 3 (DANIEL BRIERE, MIKE RICHARDS)
    12:35
    3RD PR

    Apr 19 3:48 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 20 roots (Close Finish)

    Flyers 2, Capitals 3  3rd - 0:50Apr 19 3:45 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 2
    WASHINGTON 3
    3RD PRD: PHI - DERIAN HATCHER 1 (VACLAV PROSPAL) 15:17

    Flyers 2, Capitals 3  3rd - 4:43Apr 19 3:41 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 1
    WASHINGTON 3
    3RD PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEXANDER SEMIN 2 (MIKE GREEN, SERGEI FEDOROV)
    14:33

    Flyers 1, Capitals 3  3rd - 5:27Apr 19 3:38 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 1 1
    WASHINGTON 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) NICKLAS BACKSTROM 2 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, BROOKS
    LAICH) 7:31
    2ND PRD: WAS - SERGEI FEDOROV 1 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, MIKE GREEN) 1:25
    PHI - (PP) VACLAV PROSPAL 3 (DANIEL BRIERE, MIKE RICHARDS)

    Apr 19 2:54 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: PHI - (PP) VACLAV PROSPAL 3 (DANIEL BRIERE, MIKE RICHARDS)
    12:35 (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Flyers 1, Capitals 2  2nd - 7:25Apr 19 2:40 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 0
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: WAS - SERGEI FEDOROV 1 (UNASSISTED) 1:25

    Flyers 0, Capitals 2  2nd - 18:35Apr 19 2:14 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0
    WASHINGTON 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) NICKLAS BACKSTROM 2 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, BROOKS
    LAICH) 7:31
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHI 4 4
    WAS 12 12
    GOALIES:

    Apr 19 1:54 PM
  • bones great, fast -paced game.. if only the flyers could tighten their play up a bit

    Flyers 0, Capitals 1  1st - 7:07Apr 19 1:47 PM
  • 15
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    bouch Added 5 roots

    Flyers 0, Capitals 0  1st - 13:10Apr 19 1:36 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PHILADELPHIA 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) NICKLAS BACKSTROM 2 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, BROOKS
    LAICH) 7:31 (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Flyers 0, Capitals 1  1st - 12:29Apr 19 1:36 PM
  • 10
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    bones Added 5 roots

    Flyers vs. CapitalsApr 19 12:20 PM
  • OddyOh Go Caps Go! Let's see Ovie do some damage!!!

    Flyers vs. CapitalsApr 19 9:59 AM
  • 5
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    bbroman Added 5 roots

    Flyers vs. CapitalsApr 19 8:55 AM