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Postseason Notebook -- April

by Mike Vogel / Washington Capitals

OT Heartache –
By virtue of its 4-3 loss to the Flyers in double-overtime in Game 4, each of Washington’s previous two overtime playoff games had been a multiple-overtime affair, and the Capitals came up on the short end of both contests.

Prior to the Game 4 setback against Philadelphia, Washington absorbed a triple-overtime defeat in Game 6 of its 2003 first-round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Apr. 20, 2003. The Lightning’s Martin St. Louis supplied the game-winner in that one.

The New York Islanders’ Pat Lafontaine, Brian Mullen and Ray Ferraro, the Penguins’ Petr Nedved and the Bruins’ Darren Van Impe are the other players who have victimized the Caps in a multiple-overtime contest over the years.

Washington’s last win in a multiple-overtime playoff contest came on Apr. 26, 1998 when Joé Juneau gave the Caps a win in double-overtime against the Bruins. Juneau and Mike Gartner are the only Caps who have ever scored a double-overtime game-winner for Washington. Gartner scored his in double-overtime against the Islanders on Apr. 11, 1985.

The Game 4 loss is the Caps’ fourth consecutive loss in an overtime playoff contest and the team’s seventh loss in its previous eight Stanley Cup playoff games overall.

Shot Selection – Once again, the Caps finished Game 4 with more intended shots that missed their mark – 28 were blocked and 18 missed the net – than shots on goal (41).

In the first four games of the series, the Capitals had 111 shots on goal. They had 85 shots blocked and missed the net with 62 of their tries. Washington got just 43% of its intended shots on goal in the first four games of the series. The Caps got 47% of their shots on net in Thursday’s game.

Caps left winger Alex Ovechkin led the NHL with 446 shots on goal during the regular season, the second most shots on goal ever and an average of about 5.5 shots on goal per game. In Game 4, Ovechkin had one shot on goal, three shots blocked and six shots that missed the net.

Through four game, Ovechkin had 13 shots on goal (3.25 per game), 14 shots that were blocked, and 14 that missed the net for a shots on goal rate of 31.7%.

The Other Russian Sniper –
While the Flyers focused their defensive shutdown tactics on Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin started to become a factor in this series.

Semin, who netted 64 goals in 140 regular season games over the last two seasons, delivered the death blow in Game 5 when he ripped a shot high to the glove side to beat Biron.

Semin’s goal was his second in as many games, and it gave him two goals and six points in the five games to date. He was second on the team in playoff scoring at that point.

Young Guns –
Semin, Green and center Nicklas Backstrom were the only three Capitals with multiple goals in this series through five games. Green led the team with three while Semin and Backstrom each had a pair.

 The Hammer Going Down – Washington came out hard and furious in the first period of Game 5, outshooting the Flyers 12-4 and outhitting Philly 22-9. Donald Brashear led the way with six hits in the first period alone. Brashear had six hits in 3:41 during the first and finished the game with seven. He and the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell led all skaters from both sides with seven hits.

Shutdown Street – The Capitals held Philadelphia without a shot on goal for the final 15:01 of the first period in Game 5. From roughly the five-minute mark of the first period through roughly the middle of the second period, Philadelphia had just one shot on goal over a span of 25:36.

The Flyers made up for that fallow period in the third when they launched 21 of their total of 32 shots on goal for the afternoon.

The 8 Train – Ovechkin did not score in Game 5, his fourth straight game without a goal. He did get six shots on goal in Saturday’s Game 5, the most he has managed in any game of the series.

Ovechkin had three hits in the game, giving him 29 for the series. That’s the most of any skater in the league during the playoffs, pending the rest of Saturday’s playoff action.

More importantly, he had a hand in all three Washington goals. Ovechkin drew the penalty that led to Washington’s first goal (a power play tally), he occupied Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn, thereby helping to clear a lane for Fedorov as the latter drove the net for a backhanded tally, and he helped screen out Biron on Semin’s game-winner.

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