Blog Entry

Marquee match-up must wait

Posted on: April 22, 2008 11:20 pm

It would have been a dream scenario for the NHL's marketing department had Alex Ovechkin faced Sidney Crosby in the next round of the playoffs. But even Ovechkin, ever obliging fellow that he is when it comes to league promotional efforts, couldn't make it happen for the Washington Capitals.

Blame Philadelphia's Martin Biron. The Flyers goalie was aggressive challenging shooters and in control of his rebounds, tonight and won his first career clincher and the back end of consecutive night starts for the only time this season. It was easily Biron's best game of the series and nothing less would have done because the Capitals attacked furiously in this Game 7 at home, firing 41 shots including 16 in the third period that was scoreless.

Ovechkin led the assault much like he did through the Capitals furious and improbable stretch run to a playoff spot. There were times earlier in the series when Ovechkin found it challengin against a well-executived Flyers defense, but when the Caps were facing elimination after the fifth game, he just seemed to will his way through it.

Ovechkin, who scored the winner in the series opener, connected twice to provide the margin of victory on the road in Game 6 and then picked up a goal and an assist to help Washington get the final to overtime. He ended up with four goals and five assists in the series, and was every bit the MVP for Washington that he was during the regular season, although he had some nice support from Alex Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green.

But the young Capitals were playing this series on emotion while the more experienced Flyers were playing with patience. Ultimately, Philadelphia's approach proved move effective in a series that was long and grinding.

Even so, there was not much to choose from between teams that needed overtime in the seventh game to decide things. The last game has several momentum shifts and dominant sequences by both teams, but the Flyers ultimately came out on top because Biron was better in the finale than Washington's Cristobal Huet.

So Ovechkin won't get to face Crosby and the Penguins but neither will the Flyers. They'll meet the Montreal Canadiens next while Pittsburgh gets the New York Rangers.





Category: NHL
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