Sunday, January 17, 2010

Capitals Top Flyers 5-3

The Caps have scored two goals in each of their last five periods and today was no different, but it seemed to be a tad more rewarding as the two goals in the final stanza were against those hated fellas in the Halloween sweaters (AKA the Flyers). Hockey Mom and Twin B (Twin A is on the long bus ride home from Ottawa) were in the house for a game that had a playoff aura surrounding it from the get-go. It's no secret that these two teams share mutual dislike for each other and that was evident in the number of hits, as well as their intensity.

To my surprise (and Twin B's dismay) there were no fights between these two rivals despite the efforts of Flyers' uber-thug Daniel Carcillo to get under the skin of just about every guy in a red sweater. And the Flyers were on their best behavior (or at least they weren't getting called; HM counted three blatant Flyers penalties that the guys in stripes ignored), only going to the box twice. Of course one of the visitors taking a trip to the box was he of the flowing red locks, Scottie Hartnell - for roughing of all things (Hockey Mom gasps and feigns major shock). It even appeared that former Flyer Mike Knuble was exchanging words at times with his former mates, but he took his frustrations out on Ray Emery's net by scoring the first Caps goal in the opening period.

Brooks Laich certainly emerged from his scoring slump of late with his own marker in the first period. Very interesting that the loud Flyers fan about two seats from me suddenly started simmering down in the second and third periods (I promise I did not threaten bodily harm although I thought about it a few times). Alex Semin (who had some not so pretty passes in this one) gave the boys a one-point lead going into the locker room after the second period.

The Caps were on a penalty kill early in the third but instead of capitalizing on the opportunity, the Flyers gave up the puck to a blazing Brooks Laich, who netted a lovely short-handed goal to pad the Caps' lead by two. Alex Ovechkin was the recipient of a penalty shot after getting tripped up with less than four minutes left in the final period. AO hasn't had the best of luck when it comes to the penalty shot in his career (prior to today, he'd missed all five of the penalty shots he'd taken), but today he had Ray Emery's number. After a dazzling display of stick handling, he roofed one over Emery's shoulder to stick a 5-2 fork in the tough guys from Philly.

The win moves the Caps back to the top spot in the Eastern Conference with 66 points. Way to go boys - what a game! Ran those nasty Flyers right out of town! It'll be a tough week ahead as the Caps will face both teams in last year's Stanley Cup finals within days of each other. The Detroit Red Wings, who've been bitten by the injury bug quite frequently this year, come to Verizon Center on Tuesday and Thursday the boys will face the arch-rival Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time this season.

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