- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2008

This time, there was no heartbreaking, late-game collapse for the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers entered the final period yesterday holding a two-goal lead over the Washington Capitals — just as they had two days earlier in the opener of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

This time, the Flyers didn’t lose their edge. The Flyers blanked the Capitals 2-0 at Verizon Center and headed back up Interstate 95 with home-ice advantage and the series tied as the teams head into Game 3 tomorrow night.

“We played the same way we did in the first two periods the last game,” said center Jeff Carter, whose rebound of Mike Knuble’s blast put the Flyers up 2-0 after just 15:17. “The difference was we didn’t sit back in the third. We weathered their early storm, played solid, kept them to the outside and when we needed the saves, we got ‘em.”

They got everything they needed from goalie Martin Biron, who stopped all 24 of the Caps’ shots to record a shutout in just his second playoff start. Biron made seven saves in the first seven minutes yesterday but faced only 17 shots the rest of the way despite four more Caps power plays.

“That was the best he’s played in a while,” Flyers coach John Stevens said of his 30-year-old netminder. “Marty was really, really good — and he had to be in the first period. I thought the big key was our penalty kill in the first period. When you get that many [four] power plays against you …”

And unlike Game 1 when first-line skaters Vinny Prospal and Danny Briere scored all of Philadelphia’s goals, Carter (second line) and R.J. Umberger (third) produced the Flyers’ offense.

“We’ve got three, four solid lines and seven 20-goal scorers,” said the 23-year-old Carter, who scored a career-high 29 goals this season. “We don’t rely on just three guys.”

The Flyers have goals from each of their top three lines; the Caps, meanwhile, have two from their checking line, two from defenseman Mike Green and one from their top three lines (Alex Ovechkin’s Game 1 winner).

“You need secondary scoring in the playoffs, no question about it,” said the 25-year-old Umberger, who opened the scoring at 5:53 after a terrific breakout pass from defenseman Braydon Coburn. “I saw I could maybe bust out [of the defensive zone] and cut across the middle. Coby made a great play to pick up his head and see me.”

Umberger certainly felt good reuniting with Mike Richards and Joffrey Lupul yesterday for the first time in weeks.

“All year when I’ve had the chance to play with them, I thought we’ve had some chemistry,” Umberger said. “Richie does everything right, and Lupul, I just always know where he is on the ice.”

And the Flyers know how they want to play: bump and grind and score what Umberger called “greasy goals” like Carter’s.

“They’ve got so many skilled players, if we play their game, we’re going to lose,” defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. “If we sit back and wait for them to come at us, we’re going to lose. If we go after it and forecheck, we’re a good team.

“We played really good in Game 1 for 40 minutes, but then we kind of sat back and waited for the [third] period to be over. The way we played today for 60 minutes, that was the way we have to play.”

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