On April 11, 2008 the Washington Capitals played their first Stanley Cup playoff game in nearly five years and their first postseason game of the Alex Ovechkin/”Young Guns” era. The Caps skated to a thrilling 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the two teams.
Washington drew first blood at 3:16 of the first when ex-Flyer Donald Brashear scored with help from Matt Bradley and Tom Poti. Philly’s Vinny Prospal drew his team even five minutes later and the two teams headed to their respective rooms tied at 1-1 after the first frame.
Caps center David Steckel staked his team to a 2-1 lead at 4:08 of the second, Bradley and John Erskine assisting. But Philly erupted for three second-period goals in a span of just 3:36 in the second half of the middle frame to take a 4-2 lead into the final stanza. Prospal scored his second of the night and Philly’s Danny Briere scored twice – including once on the power play – against Washington netminder Cristobal Huet.
The Caps dodged a bullet that could have brought on further damage in the second when they killed off a Mike Green delay of game penalty that carried into the third period.
Needing to make up some ground on the scoreboard, the Caps got started early in the third. Green notched his first career Stanley Cup tally at 1:50 of the third period with Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Semin to pull the Caps within a goal at 4-3. Bradley drew a hi-sticking call on Briere at 5:22 of the third, and the Caps cashed in on the ensuing power play, Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom assisting.
With the game all even at 4-4 late in the third, Ovechkin executed the swipe and snip. He stoled the puck from Philly blueliner Jaroslav Modry near the left dot in the Philly end, then cut to the middle and beat Flyers goalie Martin Biron with 4:32 left in the game.
The Caps held on the rest of the way for a 5-4 triumph in Game 1 of the series.
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