- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 13, 2008

There would be no incredible comeback this time.

The Philadelphia Flyers took a two-goal lead into the final period today at Verizon Center - just as they had less than 48 hours earlier - but this time they held on to their advantage in a 2-0 victory over the Washington Capitals that tied the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at one game apiece.

R.J. Umberger put the Flyers in front 5:53 into the opening period. Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn hit Umberger in stride with a perfect stretch pass, and he blew past Caps defensemen John Erskine and Jeff Schultz before depositing a shot into the top left corner of the net.

The breakway was the second the Caps allowed in the first six minutes, and it would be a theme in the first 20 minutes the Flyers had only nine shots but quality scoring chances aplenty.

Philadelphia coach John Stevens said Saturday putting the clamps on Washington defenseman Mike Green would be a priority, and that emphasis led to the Flyers’ second goal. Green was knocked off the puck in the neutral zone, leading to a 2-on-1 for Philadelphia.

Caps goalie Cristobal Huet stopped Mike Knuble’s slap shot from the right wing and even got a piece of Jeff Carter’s first rebound attempt, but a second whack from near the left goal post gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 15:17.

Washington had plenty of chances in the first period, including four power-play opportunities. Alexander Semin had the puck alone at the goal mouth but tried one too many fakes before a defender arrived and didn’t get a shot on net. Matt Cooke also had a prime look in front of Martin Biron, but he couldn’t get enough lift on his shot to beat the Flyers’ netminder.

Both Semin and Cooke had similar opportunities later in the game. Semin went from using too much patience to not enough and rushed a shot off the side of the post in the second period, and Biron stoned Cooke again early in the third.

But that was pretty much it for the Caps, who struggled mightily to generate offense in the final 40 minutes and lost home-ice advantage in the series because of it.

Game 3 is Tuesday night at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

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