Biron Shuts Out Caps; Flyers Win Game 2
AP Sports Writer
Martin Biron kicked Alex Ovechkin's power-play wrist shot away in the first period, used the handle of his stick to deflect Alexander Semin's breakaway attempt in the second, and sprawled on his back while corralling the puck with his left arm to thwart Dave Steckel in the third.
The Philadelphia Flyers are going home with the series tied and their goaltender leading the way. Biron made 24 saves Sunday for his third shutout in four games, leading a 2-0 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
R.J. Umberger and Jeff Carter scored first-period goals on odd-man rushes, and the Flyers limited league MVP favorite Ovechkin to five shots - only two after the first period. The 22-year-old Russian scored the winner in Friday's 5-4 Game 1 victory after being stymied for much of the game, but there was no late magic this time for a Capitals team that lacked the energy and creativity it showed two days earlier.
The loss ended the Capitals' eight-game winning streak, as well as a victorious run of seven in a row at home. Game 3 is Tuesday in Philadelphia.
The Capitals - and their fans - appeared to have overspent on playoff excitement in Game 1. The team didn't play with as much oomph, and the red-clad masses at the sold-out Verizon Center weren't nearly as loud as they were Friday.
The first few minutes were played in front of the Flyers net, but Philadelphia controlled the run of play for the rest of the game.
Of course, facing Biron lately has been frustrating for more than a few skaters. He ended the regular season with back-to-back shutouts before allowing five goals in his NHL playoff debut Friday. He was back to form Sunday with the help of a defense that cleared nearly every rebound, leaving no garbage-goal opportunities for the Capitals.
Biron even made a save with his mask, his noggin absorbing a point-blank shot from Matt Cooke in the first period after the Capitals left wing received the puck unchecked directly in front of the crease.
Ovechkin and the Capitals had other chances, mainly because the Flyers couldn't stay out of the penalty box in the early going. But Washington finished 0-for-6 on the power play.
Ovechkin, who didn't get a shot on goal until the third period of Game 1, had one within the first two minutes Sunday and two more in the first period. Biron aced the test each time, including the nice left-footed kick save. The goalie then had to scramble on the ice to keep the rebound out of the net, losing his stick in the process, before the puck was cleared out of the crowded crease area.
Ovechkin didn't get pushed around as much as he did in Game 1, but at times he and his teammates appeared out of sync. His low point was a complete whiff when attempting a shot from the blue line in the final minute of the second period.
The Flyers got all the goals they needed in the first period. Defenseman Braydon Coburn, whose primary job in the series is to hound Ovechkin, made a long lead pass from his own end to Umberger near the Capitals blue line. Umberger split the defense and beat goaltender Cristobal Huet up high on the breakaway.
A turnover at center ice led to the second goal. Mike Knuble took the puck from Jeff Green and started a 2-on-1 rush. Huet made a kick save on Knuble's shot, but Carter was there to chip in the easy rebound.
Notes:@ Flyers D Randy Jones (flu) and RW Sami Kapanen (flu, neck) returned after missing Game 1. LW Patrick Thoresen, hospitalized Friday night after being struck in the groin by a puck in Game 1, did not play but is a possibility for Game 3. ... Capitals D Jeff Schultz played after missing Game 1 with an undisclosed injury. ... Even the NBA's Washington Wizards have caught NHL playoff fever. Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Darius Songaila, Roger Mason Jr. and Oleksiy Pecherov were at the game.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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