Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Most of the credit for the win will go to Martin Biron’s mastery in Philadelphia’s net, and much of the fault will go to Caps defenseman Mike Green and sniper Alex Semin. I don’t wholly disagree with that diagnosis, but above and beyond scapegoating, I think you saw (a) Washington grow more tentative and jittery after they failed to score despite having five of the game’s first seven power plays; and (b) the Flyers grow more confident in Biron and their defense after that point.
more and a few additional NHL topics…
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Biron will be back in the net today. Stevens is smart to stay with the anointed playoff starter, at least for now. Changing goalies is a little like changing quarterbacks. It’s a move that can look like panic if a coach makes it too quickly or too often. Besides, if Stevens does have to go to Antero Niittymaki, it will be very tough to go back to Biron….
“Four goals should be enough in a playoff game,” Flyers forward Mike Knuble said.
It is if the goaltender can make a great save or two, or if you don’t hand the puck to the league’s leading scorer late in the third period….
Nothing tells you more about a coach than a playoff series. This is Stevens’ first in the NHL. He and his staff did a solid job of preparing for the Capitals. That much was clear from Game 1.
Now comes the real test: guiding this team through a series it proved it can win, even as it found a way to lose.
via Capitals Insider,
There’s some positive news to report regarding injured Flyers forward Patrick Thoresen. I’m told that his injury is not as serious as originally thought, and that it’s possble he’ll play tomorrow.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Ovechkin fetched the loose puck and slid it back to Green. This time, Green fired a shot over Biron’s glove hand to tie the game at 4.
It was a good shot. A shutdown goaltender - a wartime goaltender - stops it.
It isn’t time to overreact. This isn’t Roman Cechmanek wandering around while opponents fire pucks into his empty net. It was Biron’s first playoff game, and he acknowledged a case of nerves.
“There were some jitters early in the game,” Biron said. “We’ve got to get into our rhythm.”
Flyers coach John Stevens, asked merely to evaluate Biron’s play, immediately took the opportunity to mute possible criticism. He has a series here, after all.
“Obviously you have a 4-2 lead there,” Stevens said. “Guys stepped in and teed up from some difficult places to see. . . . We’re in this together here.”
from the Washington Times,
This was playoff hockey, something Washington hasn’t seen since 2003, and perhaps no one has seen anything quite like this before in Washington, which has seemed to transform like never before, into — yes, a version of Hockeytown.
“It’s hard to get wilder than it has been the three previous [home games],” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But I had to grab the guys and tell them they were up because they couldn’t hear me.”
Veteran great Sergei Fedorov, who has been part of Hockeytown with the Detroit Red Wings, said the crowd support was incredible.
“I had a broken stick and I couldn’t hear it break because it was so loud,” Fedorov said.
In case you missed Ovechkin’s game winner, watch it now…
via the AP,
Flyers left wing Patrick Thoresen was taken to the hospital for tests after getting hit in the groin by a shot during Philadelphia’s 5-4 loss to Washington on Friday night.
“He’s going to the hospital to get an ultrasound done on his testicles. It’s bad enough they may have to remove one,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. “Right now, we’re not sure how serious it is, but there’s a chance he may need surgery.”
Thoresen blocked the shot with about 6 1/2 minutes left in the game, then dropped to the ice, writhing in pain. Moments later, Washington scored to tie the game 4-4.
“Obviously, I’d have liked to see a whistle,” Flyers coach John Stevens said.
from Ryan Dixon of the Hockey News,
For Philadelphia to beat Washington, Richards has to be the engine that drives the Flyers.
Certainly it’s important for Martin Biron to outplay Cristobal Huet in the nets; for Daniel Briere to be healthy and produce points; for the entire team to – as much as possible – clog the gears of the Russian tank known as Ovechkin.
But Richards embodies – albeit internally for the most part – that great fighting Philly spirit that must be unleashed to combat the assault Ovie is going to lay on the Flyers.
Richards, despite his modest size, is physical. He’s smart. Skilled. And most of all, he lives for this stuff.
Jason Smith did not take the morning skate but rode a bike and says he will play. Randy Jones still has a bit of the flu but skated and remains a pre-game decision. Philadelphia head coach John Stevens expects Jones to play, as well.
Steve Downie out with the flu. Believe he did not make the trip.
more pre-game notes on the Flyers
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia News,
“The key is always more emphasis on the goaltender. If we believe it or not, it’s always going to be that way and goalies are always going to be at the forefront of the playoffs because it’s an important position.”
Good thing Biron knows that, because the Flyers’ playoff hopes rest on his shoulders, particularly against Washington. The best-of-seven series will open tonight at the Verizon Center.
Stacked together, the Flyers and the Capitals match up very well. Each has a crop of scoring forwards, though Washington does have Ovechkin, a player who can take over a game by himself.
from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,
One player cannot halt him alone. It really does take a village to stop an Ovechkin. Saying that and acknowledging that, though, recent history suggests that one sweater among all of the black-and-orange sweaters will be greeting Ovechkin most of all:
No. 44, Kimmo Timonen.
“It’s going to be a big challenge, but I’m looking forward to it,” said Timonen, the Flyers’ smoothest defensive presence. “Taking his time and space away - that’s the key for me. If you give him too much space and time, he’s going to make a play, he’s going to shoot the puck. So, for me, going into the game, you have to make sure you’re right on him all the time and contain him.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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