- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2008

The Washington Capitals missed plenty of opportunities to get on the scoreboard against the Philadelphia Flyers in yesterday’s 2-0 loss, but the most glaring area was on the power play.

Given six chances with the extra skater, the Caps managed only eight shots, effectively wasting 10:13 and many openings to blunt the Flyers’ momentum.

The reasons the power play faltered varied from an inability to connect on shots just outside the crease to Flyers goalie Martin Biron, who was Philadelphia’s best penalty killer. The Caps just couldn’t get into a rhythm in 5-on-4 play. Left wing Alex Ovechkin described it as “luck, Biron, everything.”

“We had six power plays. I thought we could’ve had one or two goals,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Then everybody would’ve said, ‘Wow, our power play was great.’ ”

Those goals didn’t materialize as the Caps got three power plays in the game’s first 13 minutes and came away with a few shaky shots and one that clanked off the crossbar. On a few occasions, a Caps player was stationed in the slot and could not snap the puck past Biron.

All those chances allowed Ovechkin to offer a different perspective on the Caps’ power play.

“I think we played well on power play,” he said. “We had great chance to score goals. We controlled the puck. I think power play today was good. But we didn’t score.”

Not scoring with that many opportunities was unlike the Capitals, who ranked ninth in the league in power-play scoring this season at 18.8 percent. Hitting that mark would have at least allowed for a hard-fought third period instead of the game of dump and chase the Flyers implemented with a two-goal lead.

Center Sergei Fedorov said Biron deserved credit for making saves but added he and his teammates shot the puck right at the goaltender. What may be more of an issue is how few pucks actually got to Biron — something that defenseman Mike Green attributed to the ice and to the Caps making too many passes.

“We struggled with the ice a little bit. We weren’t shooting at times we needed to shoot,” Green said. “We were all looking to pass to each other, so we gotta get back to shooting.”

Looking back at the passes that almost went to the perfect spot and the shots that almost went in, Fedorov termed the power play a “tough break” but added the Caps will try to turn those struggles into a learning experience.

“We were a little bit overwhelmed with that, and we tried to do too much by ourselves instead of using team play,” he said. “I guess crossbar, and a couple more chances [Biron] didn’t even see the puck. Unfortunately for us and fortunately for them, the puck did not go in.”

Network coverage

The NHL and NBC have showcased Ovechkin and the Caps against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins several times since the two entered the league. But yesterday was the first time since before the lockout that the Caps were featured on network television against a team other than the Penguins.

That will happen again Saturday when NBC airs Game 5 of the Caps-Flyers series.

Schultz in

After missing Game 1 with an undisclosed injury, Caps defenseman Jeff Schultz was back in the lineup for Game 2 as he replaced Steve Eminger. Schultz was a minus-1 and was whistled for one penalty in his 18:26 of ice time.

Flyers left wing Patrick Thoresen did not play after suffering a groin injury Friday night. Sami Kapanen took his place in the lineup. Defenseman Randy Jones returned after a bout with the flu, registering a plus-1 rating.

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