The Flyers' period-by-period identity crisis has followed them into the playoffs. As they did so many times during the regular season, they entered the third period with a lead, up 4-2, and promptly squandered it, giving up three unanswered goals in the final frame. The last of the goals was to the Russian they'd worked so hard to minimize all night, with Alex Ovechkin showing us why John Stevens has kept Lasse Kukkonen off the ice seemingly inexplicably for much of the season.
We quickly learned that the Capitals are not just a one-line team. Former Flyers enforcer Donald Brashear lit the lamp for the game's first, and fellow fourth liner David Steckel added another in the second. The Flyers, who boast three solid scoring lines, saw all their goals come from the top line combination of Danny Briere (2 goals, 1 assist) and Vinny Prospal (2 goals). Cristobal Huet showed that he's human, and for the first time since he was traded to the Caps, he allowed more than three goals in a game. The Flyers moved with energy and intensity in the second period, and looked like they had the game won, but anyone who has watched them this season knew it was far from over.
Highlights and a disturbing injury report on Patrick Thoresen after the jump.
The Capitals banged and bruised in the third, and showed they weren't going away lightly. The Flyers, on the other hand, did just that. Phenom Mike Green netted two goals, one of which was somewhat controversial, in that Flyers winger Patrick Thoresen was hit by a shot, and did not get up, writhing in agony on the ice while the Caps cycled the puck on a momentary 2-man advantage. The whistle did not blow to stop play, and the Caps scored. Thoresen had to be helped off the ice, still in a lot of pain. The shot hit him in the groin area, and reports from Comcast SportsNet and other outlets indicate he may require surgery to have a testicle removed. Now that's taking one for the team.
"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."
It's the prerogative of the officials whether to stop the game when a defensive player is hurt and the offensive player has the puck, and despite the outcome on the ice and in Thoresen's hockey pants, it's not at all uncommon for play to continue. If the refs blew the play dead every time a defensive player went down, it'd become part of their defensive strategy. We really hope Thoresen is OK and doesn't require such a traumatic surgery. He'll likely be replaced in Sunday's lineup with Sami Kapanen, who was a quasi-healthy scratch last night.
In heroic fashion, Ovechkin put the Caps ahead for good, stealing the puck from Kukkonen, who was lazily advancing it when Ovie jumped the play, broke across the crease, and fired it past a stunned Marty Biron. Game. Full highlights: