Ovechkin helps Capitals edge Flyers

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) — Alex Ovechkin stood alone on the ice in
front of the Philadelphia Flyers’ net waiting for the puck.

Great positioning for the reigning Hart Trophy winner, big
mistake for Philadelphia.

A quick Flyers’ turnover behind the net led to one more goal for
Ovechkin and another road win for the Capitals. He scored his
NHL-leading 48th goal, added an assist and helped the Washington
Capitals beat the Flyers, 2-1, on Thursday night.

Flyers goalie Martin Biron never saw Ovechkin’s 10th game-winner
of the season.

“Ovechkin’s the last guy you want alone in front of your
goalie,” Philadelphia coach John Stevens said.

Is he ever.

Ovechkin was held in check by the Flyers in their first three
meetings this season, with only one goal and three assists
against the team that eliminated Washington from last year’s

He had an assist in the first period, then scored the go-ahead
goal in the second to lift the Capitals to their fifth straight
road victory. Washington hadn’t won five straight on the road
since February 14-March 6, 2001 – when Ovechkin was 16.

“On the road, we’re not trying to impress anybody. We’re just
trying to win,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “At home
sometimes you get too cute and try to make the great play.
Whatever the situation is, I’d like to continue this formula.”

The Flyers appeared to have tie it game midway though the third
when defenseman Kimmo Timonen’s slap shot sailed past goalie
Jose Theodore, but the goal was waved off by officials when Mike
Knuble was whistled for interference.

Theodore was stout from there and finished with 35 saves. The
goaltender said a simple shift in the game plan has the Capitals
building on their road successes.

“We were trying too hard to score goals and now we’re focusing
on our defensive game and it’s paying off,” he said.

Theodore was primed to face Simon Gagne on a breakaway, but
defenseman Mike Green caught him from behind and pried the puck
loose. The fans howled in protest, hoping for a penalty that was
never called.

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“He slowed me down just enough to give them time to get me,”
Gagne said.

The Flyers had Daniel Briere back in the lineup after a two-game
absence because of lingering groin injuries, but their two-game
winning streak was snapped.

Biron took the loss, but made 28 saves and continued to solidify
himself as Philadelphia’s No. 1 goalie down the stretch and into
the playoffs. He followed 27- and 31-save efforts in
back-to-back wins with another good effort that included 11
saves in the second period.

He just couldn’t stop Ovechkin.

“They made some big hits against us, but we knew it was going to
be a hard game,” Ovechkin said. “It’s going to be a physical
game and we were ready for it. We didn’t want to try to play
like them.”

That was a good idea in the second.

Ovechkin’s goal was as much the fault of Flyers mistakes than
anything Biron did. Darroll Powe appeared to try to clear the
puck out from behind the net, when it was picked off by
Alexander Semin. Semin made a quick pass in front to Ovechkin,
who buried the wrister high past Biron for the 2-1 lead.

“He’s not going to put it in my belly, he’s going to put it
under the bar and that’s what he did,” Biron said.

Ovechkin had an assist on Brooks Laich’s 17th goal in the first
period. Laich redirected Ovechkin’s shot from the circle past
Biron for a 1-0 lead with 4:03 left.

The Flyers tied it midway through the second on a nicely
executed 2-on-1. Captain Mike Richards faked a slapper, and
directed a perfect cross-ice pass to a streaking Knuble for his
24th goal.

That was all the Flyers could muster as they lost against
Washington in regulation for the first time this season.

“I thought we created an awful lot of good chances and could
have won the game,” Stevens said.