Thursday, April 17, 2008

Caps showed heart even if they lost

That's what I wanted to see. The Caps may have lost 4-3 in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers to go down 3-1 in the 7 game series, but they showed up to play. As I've said on the message boards and Ted, take note, it's not that I'm a fair weather fan (I've been a Caps fan too long for that), it's that the Caps team I watched down the stretch hadn't really shown up in the playoffs. Tonight, they did and I'm happy about that even if they lost. Overall, they played their game and went back at Philly like they've needed to do since Game 1. Too bad it didn't happen until game 4.

The line changes Coach Bruce Boudreau made tonight seemed to have worked. Nicklas Backstrom made the most of his time on the ice on the 2nd line, mixing it up with Danny Briere (yeah, Nicklas!), scoring a goal (thank you for shooting) and netting an assist on an Alexander Semin goal. Semin is another Cap that played stellar tonight and also mixed it up. He played one of his best hockey games I've seen since becoming a Cap and gave Philly's physical hockey right back to them.

The other player to call out, Steve Eminger, who is making the most of his playoff time and netted the tying goal for the Caps. He also played well on defense and only had 1 penalty. Although Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless again, he played a good game and got 2 assists. He's dealing with a tough group of Flyers hanging on him, but I give him credit. Having Sergei Fedorov on his line did seem to help.

Cristobal Huet (and yes, I wanted Olie to play against the aggressive Flyers) made some acrobatic saves that kept the Caps into this game. The Caps gave him much more protection and a lot more sightlines. Huet couldn't have been better tonight.

And, thank you, Matt Cooke, for holding onto Danny Briere's neck for a while and playing aggressively all night long. Can we keep him please? It's clear the Caps need grit and Cooke provides it.

This too many men on the ice idiocy, however, has to stop. It cost the Caps tonight. There is no excuse for that in the playoffs. Wake up gentlemen.

Bottom line though...the Caps lost and the defense still needs serious help before the Caps can become a true contender.

Game 5, Saturday, back at the phone booth.

Let's go Caps!

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