What a way to end the series. Lupul who was the only forward that scored for the Flyers all season and didn't have a goal all series long. He looked lost. So tonight he played mostly with Briere and Prospal and saw time on the 1st powerplay unit. The move paid off in the first OT with Lupul tucking in the rebound on the powerplay to win the series.
As a Flyers fan, the win was pure joy after last season. The Caps are on the right path to becoming a really good team. They need a defenseman that can play the physical game and need to replace Federov if he leaves.
Some random notes:
* Jason Smith's ice time continues to drop. Not sure what he played tonight, but he made the glaring error on the Ovechkin goal that tied the game. Not sure what he read on that play, but he left the most dangerous player in the league alone from the blueline in to make a hit. I do not think he will be back in a Flyers uniform next season.
* Kuukonen looked great again. A much better option over Modry. I know Modry has some personal issues and I offer my condolences to his family, but he did not have his mind on hockey the last 10 days.
* As I blogged before the playoffs started, the Flyers had more depth at forward and defense and should be able to outlast the Caps in the series. It took all the depth they had up front to win.
* Kimmo is a beast. I could not believe how much he elevated his game in the playoffs over the regular season. I also predict that Braydon Coburn will be a leader on the Flyers D for the next 6-8 years.
* Nice to see Marty Biron and Danny Briere put up good numbers in the playoffs to vindicate the contracts they were given.
* As a Flyers fan, my thanks to Paul Holmgren for his masterful job of rebuilding the team so quickly.
* I thought that Stevens did a good job tonight switching the lines slightly to change the matchups since the Caps had last change.
* Finally, I know the media was hoping for a Crosby/Malkin vs Ovechkin series in the 2nd round. It looked like the refs were hoping for it due the a couple of "missed" calls that would have resulted in Flyers powerplays late in the 3rd and early in OT. The missed calls were on Hartnell along the wall - once for a boarding and once for an interference. Then in OT I cannot believe that the trip on Kapenen was not called. The genius on Versus called it a "good disruption of the play" - what it was a chop of both feet.
Alright, on to round 2 and a matchup with the Habs. We kind of had our butts kicked by them for the last two seasons. I hope the coaching staff can come up with a different plan against them or the next round could be ugly. But tonight it is time to just sit back and SMILE!