Posted on April 12, 2008 01:27 AM | Permalink
WASHINGTON – For 55:28 the Flyers had held Alexander Ovechkin to just two shots. Then a very dumb decision by Flyer defenceman Lasse Kukkonen to pass the puck in front of his his net resulted in an Ovechkin steal and game-winning goal, 5-4.
What’s worse is that the Flyers blew a two-goal lead in the third period, something they had done with regularity during the second half of the season.
Caps coach Bruce Boudreau might be a rookie coach he eloquently captured the moment by saying, "It’s amazing in sports how great moments seem to follow great players," said Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. "They seem to be in the right place at the right time."
Said Ovie, "It was one of the biggest goals of my career and winning goal in an important game for us."
The Flyers bottled Ovie up the entire night as Braydon Couburn did a number on him. Ovie didn’t get his first shot until seven minutes left in the third period.
Kukkonen on his costly turnover: "I have to make a stronger play there," Kukkonen said. "I thought he was coming from the other side and he sneaked behind me. I just got to make a better play. It’s a tough way to lose. We played well enough to win."
Joffrey Lupul on Ovie suddenly coming to life to steal the game: "It’s frustrating, we played him pretty hard, we didn't let him get many shots, we were in lanes," said Lupul, part of Richards' line assigned to Ovechkin. "We contained him the whole night.
"He seems to feed off stuff. A goal he didn’t even score – Green scores the first one and this guy seems to get energized by the crowd. The last 10 minutes he was playing at a very high level. He gets a chance like that in front, he’s going to capitalize."
Game 1 Controversy/Serious Injury
Should play have stopped? Caps on the power play in third period, trailing 4-3, as Mike Green unleashes a point shot into Patrick Thoresen’s testicles. Thoresen goes down, withers in pain, play continues as the Flyers want a time out, and Green scores on an open shot from the right circle. Thoresen is awaiting surgery tonight. "There’s a good chance they may have to remove one [testicle]," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said.
Mike Richards appealed on the goal. "I was concerned for Thor," Richards said. "We can’t dwell on that. They didn’t think it was serious." Coach John Stevens said the puck was going to the net, but clearly his player was in pain. "I'd have liked to see a whistle there," he said. The Caps had control of the puck the entire time. The officials told the Flyers bench they did not think the injury was serious enough to warrant a stoppage.
"The frustrating part is we gave them a couple of goals they didn’t have to work for," Philly's Danny Briere said. "Couple plays we wish we could have [back]. Overall, we played a hard game. We can’t put our heads down. We can’t start pointing fingers."
Briere and Vinny Prospal had two goals; Prospal never had a two-goal game until tonight… Mike Green, in his first playoff game, had two goals… Ovechkin had four attempts blocked. Through two periods, no shots, three attempts blocked, two more missed over the net… Martin Biron gave up two soft goals, the worst 2-1 go-ahead goal to David Steckel, standing below the right circle. Instead of playing the shot straight up and guarding the post, Biron goes down on his knees, Steckel shoots high over his left shoulder, short side. Hideous goal... Flyers had 36 hits, 18 blocked shots … Braydon Coburn, playing in his first playoff game as a Flyer, did a good job on Ovie. During one shift in the second period, he whacked him five times in the crease.