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Big Win on Broad Street

When the Caps left town Monday afternoon, several players said they hoped getting away from home would help them refocus and get back to basics.

Did it ever.

The Capitals completed a stellar two-game trip tonight in Philadelphia, where they claimed a 2-1 win over the rival Flyers two days after beating the Predators in Nashville by the same score. Suddenly, that four-game losing streak at Verizon Center seems like so long ago.

"Getting the win in Nashville was nice to get back in the winning column," said Brooks Laich. "But you don't want to take a step back after taking a step forward. To get a win here, in a building where we've had a tough time. Obviously, we wanted a little redemption from the last time we played here."

That was the quote of the night. Pretty much summed up the past three-plus days for the Caps, who can all but end the division race Saturday at home against Carolina (if it isn't already finished). The 'Canes' 3-2 loss in Dallas combined with the Caps' win on Broad Street increased Washington's lead to 12 points in the Southeast.

On to the rest of the notes:

Standing on His Head
Well, not quite. But Jose Theodore is on his game. He stopped 62 of 64 shots on the trip, including a ridiculous diving glove save on Kimmo Timonen early in the second period tonight.

"Even the Toronto and Pittsburgh we started to play well," Theodore said. "You could see we were starting to build on a good thing. Now to get to big wins on the road, it's good to go back home with four points."

Theodore was especially good in the second period in which the Flyers out-shot the Caps, 19-12. Boudreau can see the uptick in Theodore's game, too.

"He's in a real zone right now," Boudreau said. "It's something he's used to doing at the end of the year, and it's something hopefully he can continue to do as time goes on."

The 'Special' in Special Teams
The Caps only got two power play opportunities tonight. But they scored on half of them thanks to pretty display of passing by Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin as well as Brooks Laich's nose for the net.

"It was a great play by Alex because they think he shooting all the time," Laich said of Ovechkin's deft pass to him. "He's such a magnet. Teams always focus on him. So I just snuck in backdoor and it was a great pass."

The penalty kill, meanwhile, killed off all four of the Flyers' power plays. Anchored by Jeff Schultz, Tom Poti, Boyd Gordon and David Steckel, it's now been perfect in three of the past four games.

The PK was especially good early, extinguishing three shorthanded situations in the first period, including an elbowing infraction issued to Alexandre Giroux, who was recalled earlier in the day.

"Those set the tone," Steckel said of the kills. "You don't want to have to do that every game, but when you have three thrown at you right away, it shows we were up to the task. We were ready. We built momentum off of it."

Not So Fast
Not one, but two goals were disallowed in the third period. First, Tomas Fleischmann had one called back because Michael Nylander had landed on top of Martin Biron after a shove (the referee's official ruling was incidental contact with the goalie). The Flyers then had one nullified about a minute later because Mike Knuble had been whistled for interference on Jeff Schultz before the puck entered the net.


Road Ready
After dropping four straight on home ice, the Caps have won five straight on the road for the first time since 2000-01 season. In case you're wondering, eight of this season's final 13 games are away from the District.

Ovechkin on the Verge
With two more goals, Ovechkin will become the first Capital to record three 50-goal seasons and join Teemu Selanne as the only active player to have accomplished the feat.

Speaking of Alex
After getting bottled up in Nashville, Ovechkin was all over the place tonight. In addition to the goal and the assist, he also took eight shots, recorded three hits and made a highlight-reel effort on Simon Gagne, swiping the puck away from the Flyers sniper on a breakaway.

"That was one of his best games," Philly goalie Martin Biron said. "I mean great game for him because he was active."

That's it from me tonight. The Caps are scheduled to practice tomorrow at 11 a.m. at KCI.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 13, 2009; 12:02 AM ET
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Posted by: ralph4100 | March 13, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Inevitably, the road to the cup goes through Pittsburgh. Now, if the steamrollers end up being someone else, anyone else, the Caps have a better chance. I'm ok with postponing the exorcism in favor of success. The only teams that really worry me are Philly and NJ.

Posted by: oo7 | March 13, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

People who say first need to GTFO.

Its not cool to be first.

Posted by: Ovechwin | March 13, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

what happened? are there two blog entries with same title?

Posted by: oo7 | March 13, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

I think the ?uetion mark makes it okay. Sometimes its a little surprising to find yourself in that position. Exclamation points are weak, though. I still want the Peenies and the Pfailers in the playoffs. If we can't beat them, meh, a Cup loses a little luster.

Posted by: kevbnyc | March 13, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

great game boys. glad you made the drive up to philly worth more then the last drive i made. this win def erases the last time I saw the caps take on Philly in Philly and lose 7-1. I lvoed how ovie was #1 star and he was booed the whole night, what a way to shove it back in Philly fans faces after that final horn. GREAT GAME!!!

Posted by: capsfan387 | March 13, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Now that my fellow Caps fans was an entertaining playoff like atmosphere. What a great solid win with speed, clogging up the neutral zone and relentless forechecking.

Flyers Fans: They can shove it with their pitiful selves. Their team got beat and the best part - in regulation.

Penalty Kill: You all know why the PK has rocked going back to the Pittsburgh game - it's what I've been begging for them to do - GET AGGRESSIVE. THey are not sitting in that box letting the opposing team setup. Job well done.

Disallowed goals: Incidental contact? Are you kidding me? Nylander was shoved - goal should've stood. Flyers - that was the correct call. Nice try on that one Knuble.

A character win and yes Caps hockey is back. Another Hurricane warning is up for DC. Time for some payback for that debacle against the Canes over a week ago. Ice Breakers Goal Shakers.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | March 13, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: large23220 | March 13, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Call me Langway.

Posted by: kevbnyc | March 13, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: LA_caps_fan | March 13, 2009 2:19 AM | Report abuse


Someone was jealous that they had to tinkle and didn't make it first. I think it's cool when a newbie gets to take part in that fine tradition of being first to post on a blog. yay!


Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 13, 2009 2:31 AM | Report abuse

If i'm 12th call me Bonzai

If i'm 13th call me Battaglia

Posted by: Osfan092589 | March 13, 2009 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Very solid game. As I've stated before, it doesn't make a rip how many penalties you take if you can kill them off. Notice how nobody was complaining about the fact that we took 3 in the first period. Reason, they didn't score and our PK hasn't allowed a goal in 3 games. Imagine that!

Posted by: pokerface1208 | March 13, 2009 2:50 AM | Report abuse

As far as the playoffs are concerned. I consider myself a lover and not a hater, but I HATE the Penguins. I know some think Philly is our biggest rivalry and maybe to the new "core" they are but for us old time Caps fans, there's no way anybody can say anything different. It used to be in the past that I really didn't want to face Pitt in the playoffs b/c they always had our number. Now I say bring them on! There no doubt in my mind at all the we WILL beat those jerks. We could play all the games in Pittsburgh and we'd still win the series IMO. My dream Stanley Cup run would have us beat the Islanders in the 1st round, Philly in the 2nd and then Pitt in the 3rd to go to the Cup. There is NOTHING that would be sweeter! Now it obviously won't happen this yr as the Isles won't be there and Pitt won't be there in the Conf finals. The only team that "concerns" me is Philly. I'm very confident we'll beat everybody else. I even think we're a better team than Philly but for some reason I'm just not as confident about them. Maybe they'll get taken care of in the 1st round. There's NOTHING like playoff hockey, NOTHING! I hope Theo doesn't burn out before they get here. The thing is, he doesn't even have to be great. He just needs to be steady and we can figure out the rest.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | March 13, 2009 2:57 AM | Report abuse

There is no team that worries me. The Capitals worst enemy is themselves. When they play with consistency and intelligence they can beat any team in the league as their talent is right their with any team in the league. However, as with any young and inexperienced team they have consistency issues. Like one Detroit player said (whose name I don't recall) when this team matures watch out.

As for the competition, the Bruins, the Flyers, and the Devils are all capable. However, I think the Bruins and the Devils are the most formidable due to their goaltending. I think the Penguins aren't good for anything more than a possible upset or two. In my opinion they are way too top heavy both offensively and defensively and it will show itself come playoff time. Speaking of the Penguins, anybody notice that they aren't doing anywhere near as good a job as the Capitals are in surrounding their young superstars with young capable talent. The past few seasons they have resorted to the Redskins school of acquiring talent. Buy the talent and try to patchwork it in.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 13, 2009 3:27 AM | Report abuse

"it doesn't make a rip how many penalties you take if you can kill them off."

That's a myth. Lets assume we take, oh say, 3 penalties in the 1st and 3 in the 2nd (this is not uncommon), by playing the man down- fatigue increases. By the 3rd period, (assuming we take even 1 more penalty), the boys are wiped out. So much so, that at even strength they can't stay up to tempo. This leads to break-aways, or even another lazy stick penalty.
In the playoffs- this will not be acceptable.

That said- great job last night. Although I'm a little dazed still from staying up till 1.30 am watching theSU/UCONN game that went to 6 OT's.

Posted by: Fro_ | March 13, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Something special happened in Nashville that carried into Philly with the Caps beating another very physical hockey team. Does this momentum arrive in DC tomorrow night against Carolina?


Posted by: ken_nickell | March 13, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Here's hoping the men don't disappoint tomorrow at Verizon. Unleash the fury, Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 13, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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