Ok will someone outside of Philly give the Flyers some credit. All I read about the series is how the Caps are not playing well. Here is a hint to the cause, the Flyers are playing very well. If not for a strange 3rd period in Game 1, this series could be 3-0 already. The Flyers are playing "Playoff Hockey". They are hitting, killing penalties and scoring on the powerplay. They are blocking shots, hitting the star players on the Caps. They are playing great. Give some credit. If you picked the Caps to win the series, say that Philly is playing better than expected.
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Game 3 Summary
Briere, Prospal and Hartnell are playing like a number 1 line right now. They have clicked and are a very dangerous trio right now. Richards and Carter have done a fantastic job of playing defense first and allowing the scoring to come. I know every team does this and I wish the league would stop it. As a goal is scored, every player on defense feels they have a free shot on the offense. Witness a really vicious cross check on Hartnell last night as Briere scored on the powerplay. Speaking of cheap shots how was a penalty not called on the extremely late hit on Timmonen? Hope he is ok and ready to go for game 4, although he looked to be in alot of pain after the hit and collision with the damn camera in the net! Richards is playing a great series and seems to be all over the ice on every shift. Upshall has found his role. Getting Greeen to take 7 minutes of penalties was a great move. Without him on the ice for the 1st half of the 3rd period, Washington struggled to generate offense.
Thorensen is a crazy man. Not sure how many people could put their "parts" on the line after that slapshot in Game 1. His addition over Cote was a big boost with the 4th line with Dowd and Kapenen. That line played great even against the Ovechkin line after powerplays!
I am surprised by the skill of some of the other Caps. Semin has a great shot and Green is really a great offensive player from the blueline. He seems to be a bit of a liability in his end. Reminds me of a guy like Andy Delmore. Can really skate, shoot and pass, but beatable on defense.
Look for much of the same from the Flyers. With or without Timonen (they are reporting he will play now), the entire group on the ice will watch Ovechkin and company closely. The hitting will continue in the sea of orange. For the Caps to even the series, Huet had better stand on his head. He has been at a level around average for the 3 games so far and seems to give up some nice rebounds. Also the Caps appear to be desperate, especially moving Federov to defense for the 4rd period. I know he is skilled, but he was beaten a few times very easily. Also, the Caps appear to be surprised at how fast the Flyers are (Hatcher, Smith and Dowd excluded).
I am not sure what issue that the coaching staff has with Kuukonen. When in the lineup he is a force. He skates well, blocks shots, and is fearless. There must be something about him since the coaches have him behind Modry in their minds. I know he made the play that setup AO for the game winner in Game 1, but he was also playing with Modry on that shift and Modry had positioned himself in a stationary position along the wall. In hindsight, Lasse should have just iced the puck there. Since January, every writer in Philly wonders why Kuukonen is higher on the depth chart. I feel that over the summer he will be moved - probably at the draft for a pick.
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