|PHI||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
|WSH||0||0||0||(null - null)||5|
A Dozen – Twelve members of the Capitals made their NHL playoff debuts on Friday: John Erskine, Alex Ovechkin, Boyd Gordon, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Milan Jurcina, Shaone Morrisonn, Alexander Semin, David Steckel, Tomas Fleischmann, Steve Eminger and Mike Green. Half of them – Erskine, Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, Steckel and Green – recorded their first NHL playoff points tonight.
History, Again – Washington made history just to get into the playoffs, becoming the first team in NHL history to go from 14th or 15th in the conference at midseason to a playoff berth. The Caps did it again on Friday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Philadelphia Flyers at Verizon Center.
Down 4-2 heading into the final frame, the Caps rallied on two Mike Green goals and Alex Ovechkin’s game-winner to earn a 5-4 win and jump out to a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. The victory was the first ever by the Capitals in a playoff contest in which they trailed by as many as two goals in the third period.
Can’t Keep a Good Man Down – Only once all during the 82-game regular season – on Oct. 8 against the Islanders in New York – did the opposition hold Washington winger Alex Ovechkin without a shot on goal for an entire game.
The Flyers kept Ovechkin from getting a shot on goal in the first 52-plus minutes on Friday. The Caps’ star sniper had three shots blocked and missed the net with two other bids in the first 40 minutes of the game. He did not record his first shot on goal until 12:53 of the third.
After skating 13:25 in the first 40 minutes, Ovechkin logged 8:25 in the third. He recorded five of his eight hits in the final frame, and recorded three shots on goal. He potted the game-winner when his forecheck caused Flyers defensemen Jaroslav Modry and Lasse Kukkonen to play hot potato with the puck. Ovechkin stripped Kukkonen and then calmly fired the puck over a prone Martin Biron to ice Washington’s 5-4 victory.
Helping Huet – Caps goaltender Cristobal Huet was nicked for four goals on Friday, the most he has allowed in a game since his last game in a Montreal uniform. Huet surrendered five goals in a 5-4 Montreal loss to the Penguins on Feb. 21.
Huet has been bailing the Caps out of tough spots virtually since his arrival in the District on Feb. 26, and the Caps bailed him out on Friday.
Philly scored three times in the second period of Friday’s game, the first time the Caps have surrendered that many goals in a period since Chicago pounced on Washington for four first-period strikes on Mar. 19.
Washington roared back with three of its own in the third period to make a winner of Huet in his first NHL playoff appearance in two years.
Two Down? No Problem – Friday night marked the first time the Caps were down two goals in a game since Mar. 21 at Atlanta. The Caps rebounded to win that one, too.
Long Time Coming – Although they twice gave up the lead in Friday’s series opener, the Caps rallied to win their first home playoff game in almost seven years. Washington’s previous home ice playoff win was on Apr. 12, 2001. That was a 1-0 win over Pittsburgh in the Game 1 of the opening round series between the Caps and the Pens.
Shots Down – The Caps managed only four first period shots on goal and went without a shot on net for more than 13 minutes in the first frame. Through two periods, the Caps had just 15 shots. They finished with 27, their lowest total in a game since they fell 5-0 in Chicago on Mar. 19.
O From the D – Washington defensemen combined to total 148 points during the regular season. The last Caps team to get more scoring from its blueline was the 1997-98 team that advanced to the Stanley Cup finals. That blucline bunch accounted for 151 points.
In Friday night’s series opener, Washington defensemen chipped in with two goals and two assists for four points.
Biting the Hand that Once Fed Him – Playing in his 50th career NHL playoff contest, Caps left winger Donald Brashear got Washington on the board first in Friday night’s Game 1. Brashear’s goal came at 3:16, just two seconds after the expiration of Mike Knuble’s slashing minor.
Brashear’s goal was his first since Mar. 3 against Boston, and it was his first playoff goal since Apr. 25, 2004. In that game, Brashear was a member of the Flyers and he tallied a power play goal at 17:57 of the first period of a second-round series against Toronto. Philly went on to win the game, 2-1.
Streak Stopper – Vaclav Prospal’s first period goal for Philly was the first even strength goal allowed by Caps goaltender Cristobal Huet in a span of 127:38. The prior even strength goal surrendered by Huet came at the 39-second mark of the first period of Washington’s 4-1 win over the Lightning on Apr. 3. Bolts blueliner Filip Kuba beat Huet that night.
Triumphant Returns – Matt Bradley and Sergei Fedorov are among the few members of the Capitals with previous NHL playoff experience. Bradley played in 10 Stanley Cup contests with San Jose as a rookie in 2002, but did not record a point. He collected his first two playoff points on Friday, assisting on each of Washington’s first two goals, by Brashear and David Steckel.
Fedorov made a brilliant play to set up the first of Mike Green’s two goals on the night. The point was Fedorov’s first in the NHL playoffs since he scored a goal for the Detroit Red Wings against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on Apr. 16, 2003.
OSU Connection – Caps center David Steckel and Flyers winger R.J. Umberger were roommates at Ohio State University. Both players were chosen in the first round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Umberger went to Vancouver with the 16th overall choice and Los Angeles chose Steckel with the 30th pick.
|Donald Brashear (1) ASST: Matt Bradley (1), Tom Poti (1)|
1 - 0 WSH
|Vinny Prospal (1) ASST: Kimmo Timonen (1), Scott Hartnell (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|David Steckel (1) ASST: Matt Bradley (2), John Erskine (1)|
2 - 1 WSH
|Daniel Briere (1) ASST: Mike Knuble (1)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Vinny Prospal (2) ASST: Daniel Briere (1), Lasse Kukkonen (1)|
3 - 2 PHI
|PPG - Daniel Briere (2) ASST: Mike Richards (1), Vinny Prospal (1)|
4 - 2 PHI
|Mike Green (1) ASST: Sergei Fedorov (1), Alexander Semin (1)|
4 - 3 PHI
|PPG - Mike Green (2) ASST: Alex Ovechkin (1), Nicklas Backstrom (1)|
4 - 4 Tie
|Alex Ovechkin (1) ASST: NONE|
5 - 4 WSH
|Mike Knuble Slashing against Nicklas Backstrom|
|Milan Jurcina Boarding against Scottie Upshall|
|Daniel Briere Slashing against Shaone Morrisonn|
|Matt Cooke Interference against Braydon Coburn|
|Mike Green Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Daniel Briere Hi-sticking against Matt Bradley|
|SA: 27||TOI: 59:13|
|Saves: 22||EV: 20 - 24|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 3|
|SV%: .815||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 22||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 18||EV: 15 - 18|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 4|
|SV%: .818||SH: 0 - 0|