Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lupul Scores! Flyers Win!

Joffrey Lupul, seen recently on the side of milk cartons for his lack of offense in this series, potted the game winner in OT (on the PP, no less) as the Flyers beat the Washington Capitals by a score of 3 - 2.
In a game that featured an ebb and flow similar to Game 6, where the Flyers got the better of the early going and the Caps pressed the action late, Martin Biron stood tall for the Flyers. He made 16 saves in a tightly-contested 3rd period, where there were no penalties called, despite several infractions committed. As the Caps were coming at the Flyers in waves, the Flyers managed only 5 mostly ineffectual shots on goal. This team was clearly gassed going into the overtime period.

As OT began, it was obvious that the Flyers had regained some jump and, after a couple of incidents where a Flyer was pulled down by a Cap (the Sami Kapanen play was a pull down in plain sight), one of them was finally called (against Cap Tom Poti) giving the Flyers a rare OT man advantage.

It was incredibly important for the Flyers to score on that power play. The "make up" call giving the Caps the power play was going to occur; it was just a matter of time. Fortunately, Lupul put in his first goal of the series such that the Flyers didn't need to worry about the make up call.

Did you notice?

- Holy Crap, was that Steve Downie on the ice in a Game 7? He committed two minors and looked a little lost, but I blame none of that on Downie. Stevens saw fit to play Downie, a 20 year old who never played in a playoff game, on Mike Richards' line. Sure, he saw some success with Richards during the regular season, but that was before Stevens buried the guy. He should have been in the Riley Cote role, where he wouldn't have seen nearly as much ice time as he would playing on Richards' line. Eventually, Kapanen took Downie's place on that line.

- I don't know how many shot Lasse Kukkonen blocked, but I'd bet it was alot.

- Despite Alex Ovechkin finding his stride somewhat in this series, kudos must be given to Kimmo Timonen. If you noticed, Ovechkin's points were not coming because he simply overpowered or juked and jived the puck around some hapless d-man (see the goal he had in game 1 versus Lasse Kukkonen). The goals were coming off of home run passes, broken plays, and being set up on the power play. All those goals count, but Timonen sublimated some of his offensive game to contain Ovechkin and it worked. The same goes for Braydon Coburn, who is making himself into a star in this league.

- All of the Washington pub is about Ovechkin and rightly so, but Nicklas Backstrom is an emerging player. In a year where Chicago's Patrick Kane got all of the rookie publicity, maybe some folks better get a look at Backstrom, who some hockey writers compared to a young Forsberg.

- Finally, the Flyers' second goal, where Patrick Thoresen knocked a Caps d-man into Huet, enabling Sami Kapanen to score into an empty net was controversial, but the fact that Huet was out of his crease and was bowled over by his own guy, who was back checking hard, was just an unfortunate circumstance. That said, I thought for sure they would review that and it would magically get overturned. Once in a while, maybe the Flyers do get a break from the refs.

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