Alex Ovechkin's Washington Capitals couldn't muster a comeback after going down 2-0 in the first period of Game 2 of their NHL playoff series versus the Philadelphia Flyers.
Both teams were scoreless through the final two frames, as Philadelphia held off scoring phenom Ovechkin and Martin Biron built a wall in front of his net at the Verizon Center in Washington.
Martin Biron made 24 saves for the shutout in only his second NHL playoff game on Sunday.
(Nick Wass/Associated Press)
With the victory, the Flyers did a little coming back of their own, pulling even after two games in the Eastern Conference quarter-final series.
Biron blocks everything
Despite an explosive start and four power plays in the first period, Washington couldn't find the net behind veteran goalkeeper Biron, who made 24 saves.
"Everybody always says you want to split, going on the road, after the first two games," said Biron, who made 24 saves. "We played really well on the road, and now we have to carry that over."
After allowing five goals on 27 shots in his playoff debut, Biron gave a clean and confident performance for the shutout in Game 2.
The 10-year veteran garnered five shutouts, a 2.59 goals-against average and a respectable 30-20 record in the 2007-08 regular season.
"He made some big saves early," Flyers centre Mike Richards said. "I think three or four of them were point-blank. When a goalie does that, it gives you opportunities and momentum."
Between the pipes at the other end, Cristobal Huet, who had won eight starts in a row before Sunday, made 37 saves but looked shaky on a pair of blocker-side goals.
R.J. Umberger opened the scoring in the first period after a long pass from defenceman Braydon Coburn put him past the Capitals defence for a breakaway and a nifty, top-shelf goal over Huet's blocker.
Jeff Carter added padding toward the end of the frame, stuffing home a big rebound, once again, on Huet's blocker side.
The Flyers continued to apply pressure with 14 shots in the second period, as Washington struggled to regain momentum. Biron took an Ovechkin howitzer off the shoulder at one point, but Coburn and the Philly defence dominated the front of the net and allowed few second chances.
Searching for Cinderella
When the third period began, all eyes were on Ovechkin as he chattered with teammates and appeared primed for final-hour fireworks.
The Capitals offence came on strong, with Alexander Semin and Matt Cooke getting the best chances, but Biron pulled out one big stop after another.
Even Ovechkin, who scored 11 game-winners and two in overtime for Washington this season, couldn't beat Biron on two chances.
"I didn't like how much he played," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He stayed on too long. It's hard when it's Alex. He wants to go so badly. He gets it in his head, 'I can do it,' and most nights he can. He looked a little tired, but he looked a little frustrated as well. He wasn't getting the puck, and they were all on him when he did touch the puck.
"We've got to give him a chance to have a mediocre game once in a while."
The Capitals opened the series with a 5-4 win and will try and regain their footing when they play in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Defenceman Jeff Schultz returned for Washington after missing the first game of the series due to the flu. His return pushed Steve Eminger back to the sidelines.
Forward Patrick Thoresen missed Sunday's game after taking a hard shot to the groin in the opener. Veteran Sami Kapanen got back on the ice in his stead.With files from the Associated Press