The Washington Times - February 24, 2009, 07:03PM

Good evening and welcome to The Washington Times’ live blog of Flyers vs. Capitals - Round 3. The Flyers won the first game in impressive fashion, 7-1 at Wachovia Center. The Caps took the first game here at Verizon Center 2-1 in a shootout.

18:16 left in first - The Caps are going on the power play after an interference call on the Flyers’ Scottie Upshall.

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18:12 left in first - Well, that didn’t take long. A faceoff win by Sergei Fedorov, Alex Ovechkin slap pass and Nicklas Backstrom goal. Caps lead 1-0.

Eric Fehr looked like he got the wind knocked out of him, but he’s on the ice getting things done in the offensive end. The Caps appear to be playing a tick faster than the Flyers, with the exception of perhaps Scott Hartnell, who has looked swift compared the Washington defensemen trying to stop him.

11:48 left in first - The Flyers have gotten some scoring chances, as have the Caps. Jose Theodore just made a nifty glove save on Matt Carle to preserve Washington’s lead. Backstrom’s goal was the result of Ovechkin’s fake shot, which got the Philly D and goalie Antero Niittymaki out of position. He was able to send a soft pass to Backstrom on the weak side, and Backstrom basically put the puck into an empty net as Niittymaki sprawled toward him.

10:28 left in first - The Caps, up 1-0, are going to the penalty kill after a holding call to David Steckel.

8:35 left in first - A successful kill for the Caps, thanks to some nice goaltending by Theodore. Tomas Fleischmann had a breakaway, but the officials blew the play dead. The hits are coming at a crazy rate right now. Mike Richards drilled Tom Poti in the Caps’ defensive end, which riled up Mike Green. Green took his frustrations out on Joffrey Lupul.

Hartnell got an interference call on Fleischmann’s breakaway, so the Caps will get some power-play time. And I’d certainly bet on a fight coming soon, possible Donald Brashear vs. Riley Cote.

7:43 left in first - Puck over the glass penalty on the Flyers’ Simon Gagne. Five-on-three time for the Caps.

4:10 left in first - No goals for the Caps during the five-on-three. Braydon Coburn had an excellent diving clear for the Flyers. On the other end, after the power play, Theodore made a couple saves on less-than-quality shots by the Flyers.

Just at the end of the last play, John Erskine slashed Upshall around the groin. Flyers are headed to the power play.

2:00 left in first - OK, the Philly beat writers here are abuzz about this, and with good reason. The Flyers lead the league in short-handed goals but have not allowed one all season. Already tonight there have been THREE short-handed breakaways for the Caps. First it was Fleischmann, then Backstrom (hit post), then Steckel (didn’t get shot off).

Whether it’s good or bad news for the Caps, Michael Nylander (who has had a rough game) just got a slashing call.

End of first period. OK, keep the counter going: That’s FOUR short-handed chances for the Caps. The Flyers’ power play badly misses defenseman Kimmo Timonen. At the tail end of the power play, the Flyers hit the post, crossbar and the top of the net with three shots in roughly five seconds. Still, no goal and the Caps lead 1-0.

This has been an entertaining game (and undoubtedly a frustrating one for the coaches). The Flyers’ John Stevens has to be upset at all the short-handed chances his team has allowed, and the Caps’ Bruce Boudreau has to be upset his team hasn’t cashed in.

The Flyers have controlled play for much of the game (12 shots to the Caps’ seven), but Washington has gotten much better scoring chances. Either way, it’s clear this is one of the league’s best rivalries — and the physical play isn’t over.

So the stat sheet just came, and a couple things jump out: The Caps have just one shot in five-on-five play, compaed to the Flyers’ seven. And Philly’s captain, Richards, leads all players in ice time with 8:18. In case you’re wondering, Ovechkin has 5:41.

19:41 left in second - Hartnell goes off for slashing- PP time for the Caps.

17:29 left in second - Some great chances for the Caps on the power play, and some breaks by Philly. Still 1-0 and back to full strength.

15:41 left in second - CAPS 2, FLYERS 0 - Bad turnover by the Flyers turns into Ovechkin’s 44th of the season. Jeff Carter gave it up right to Ovechkin in the slot, and No. 8 didn’t miss.

13:52 left in second - After the first period, it looked like the stats were lying. There’s no way the Caps had five fewer scoring chances (four) than the Flyers (nine). They really had four just short-handed — and many more here in the second.

12:19 left in second - Slashing penalty to the Caps’ Milan Jurcina. But Washington is having no trouble on this PK - easy clears, no real quality shots by Philly.

10:47 left in second - Semin gets the puck over the glass penalty with 15 seconds left in Jurcina’s.

10:31 left in second - CAPS 2, FLYERS 1 - On the five-on-three, a gorgeous pass from Richard to Claude Giroux gets the Flyers on the board.

8:28 left in second - Brooks Laich gets a short-handed break but is stopped by Niittymaki. That’s five shorty chances for the Caps, who are headed back to the power play.

5:39 left in second - A little scuffle in front of the Flyers bench, with Hartnell and Brashear getting some shots in at each other amid the crowd. Ovechkin and Richards are even jawing as they discuss penalties with the officials.

4:00 left in second - A nice sprawling save by Theodore after a fancy back-and-forth, weaving passing play between Giroux and Carter.

2:48 left in second - Theodore gets whistled for roughing as he hit Hartnell in the head while the Flyers forward was in the crease. The crowd really doesn’t like this call. Fehr will serve it.

End of second - The Caps maintain their 2-1 lead after some saves by Theodore on the short side against Lupul. As my colleague, Corey Masisak, has pointed out, there should be more goals with all the penalties (12 of them) and two of the top four power plays in the league.

And as uneven as the play has been, this has been a very entertaining game.

Shots are 26 for Philly and 24 for Washington. Mike Green leads all players in ice time with 19:47. Richards is second with 18:18 - mostly because with Timonen out he is playing the point on the Flyers’ power play.

19:59 left in third - Line change for Philly, as Lupul is back on Carter’s RW with Hartnell at LW. Upshall slides back to Giroux’s line.

18:15 left in third - Gagne has a breakaway, then on the defensive end coughs up the puck. Penalty on Gagne for hooking, as the Caps head to the PP.

16:35 left in third - All hail, Jose. The Flyers get a two-on-one short-handed break, and Theodore makes one of the saves of the night on Mike Knuble.

13:37 left in third - Holding call asessed to Knuble, as the officials are continuing a trend of inconsistency. At times, they are letting everything go and at others are calling the play very tightly. Caps are going back on the power play.

10:49 left in third -  CAPS 2, FLYERS 2 - Philly ties it up on a beautiful pass from Lupul to Hartnell and quick shot past Theodore. Hartnell was fresh, coming off the bench, and Lupul’s drop pass was perfectly placed for the big left wing midway between the hashmarks and the blue line.

9:24 left in third - FLYERS 3, CAPS 2 - Carter’s 35th of the season off a rebound that bounced off Theodore’s left pad.

7:30 left in third - FLYERS 4, CAPS 2 - Arron Asham makes an appearance … and scores a goal. The Flyers have scored three times in just over three minutes.

5:49 left in third - This crowd is stunned after the Flyers’ three-goal run, but Bruce Boudreau is taking action. Sergei Fedorov is back on D, with Fleischmann playing with Laich and Fehr.

Remember that line switch the Flyers at the start of the third? All it did was produce two goals in a matter of minutes for the Flyers. Hartnell-Carter-Lupul, aka the Center City Line, got the rally started.

UPDATE: Well, it’s a final: Caps fall 4-2 to the Flyers. More coming postgame.

- Stephen Whyno