- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 20, 2008

One of the last players to enter the Washington Capitals locker room yesterday after his team’s 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, Sergei Fedorov let out a sigh before speaking with the media.

The sigh was equal parts relief (the Caps’ season is still alive) and fatigue (the 38-year-old center played more than 20 minutes).

“It was an emotional game — everybody is a little tired,” he said. “To get to the next game is very exciting for us. We were on the edge and pushing as hard as we could.”

Fedorov had reason to be tired — he did a little bit of everything in his best game of the series, scoring a second-period goal, assisting on a third-period score, playing the point on the power play and killing penalties.

“Like a fine wine, isn’t he?” coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Said Brooks Laich: “Another fantastic job by Feds playing 5-on-5 and on special teams.”

In the first four games of the series, Fedorov had only one assist and was minus-3. In the Game 4 double overtime loss, he couldn’t capitalize on several scoring chances.

But early yesterday, he appeared to have extra energy. His 20-plus minutes of ice time was third among Caps forwards, and he had four shots on goal.

“He made plays,” Boudreau said. “He slowed it down, and he’s good on the bench. He’s the one yelling at the guys to calm down. He’s been through the wars — he has got all our experience in the playoffs.”

Yesterday was Fedorov’s 163rd postseason game. The next closest on the Caps is Donald Brashear with 54.

With the Caps leading 1-0 in the second period, Fedorov scored his first playoff goal in five years at the 1:25 mark when he took a pass from Victor Kozlov and beat Martin Biron with a back-handed shot from the high slot.

In the third period, the Caps led 2-1 and squandered three consecutive power plays. But Fedorov said apprehension didn’t grip the bench.

“You can’t think about frustration at that point, but you try to adjust and play hard and play smart,” he said. “I don’t think we were frustrated. We were just trying to find a better way to do it.”

The Caps took a 3-1 lead with Alexander Semin’s power-play goal, a turnaround wrist shot that was set up by Fedorov and Mike Green. Fedorov’s 115 playoff assists lead active NHL players.

“He’s had that jump since he’s gotten here,” Laich said. “He’s skating like a 28-year-old.”

PLAYOFF PRO

Sergei Fedorov had a goal and an assist in the Capitals’ win over Philadelphia yesterday. He leads active NHL players in postseason assists and is fourth in points.

PLAYOFF POINTS

1. Joe Sakic, Colorado: 183

2. Jaromir Jagr, N.Y. Rangers: 174

3. Peter Forsberg, Colorado: 171

4. Sergei Fedorov, Washington: 166

5. Chris Chelios, Detroit: 144

PLAYOFF ASSISTS

1. Sergei Fedorov, Washington: 115

2. Chris Chelios, Detroit: 113

3. Peter Forsberg, Colorado: 107

4. Joe Sakic, Colorado: 99

4. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit: 98

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