Superstar Alex Ovechkin has lead the Capitals to their first postseason birth since 2003. Arguably the most exciting player in the NHL lead the league in points (112) and goals (65). The Caps arrive in the playoffs scorching hot winning their last seven and were 11-1 in the final 12 games. The hiring of Coach Bruce Boudreau along with midseason acquisitions of starting goaltender Chris Huet (1.63 GAA in 13 games), Matt Cooke and Sergei Fedorov have moved this team from the basement to the playoffs. Ovechkin loves the spotlight and should shine in the postseason. Ovie combined with Semin, Kozlov ,and Backstrom will provide the offensive firepower. If the Caps can carry their end of season hot streak into the playoffs, they should be a force to be reckoned with.
After suffering their worst season last year, the Flyers have had the quickest rebuilding phase in recent history. Suffering through Antero Nittymaki, Roman Chekmanek, and Robert Esche in goal, they have finally found their #1 in Marty Biron, who is going through his first taste in the playoffs as a starter. He posted a 2.59 GAA this season along with 5 shutouts. Additions of Daniel Briere, Kimmo Timmonen, Scott Hartnell, along with the emergence of Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Joffrey Lupul and RJ Umberger the Flyers should have no problems putting some points on the board.
As always, special teams will be a factor in this series,
Flyers 21.8% (2nd in league)
Capitals 19.0% (7th in league)
Flyers 83.2% (10th in league)
Capitals 80.5% (25th in league)
Philadelphia has averaged 17.9 penalty minutes this season making them the number one penalized team in the conference. Washington is the second least penalized team with 11.9 per game.
Washington in six: Last fall Colorado Rockies of the MLB showed us what a hot streak can do, I expect the Capitals to continue that hot streak into the playoffs. They have the best player in Alex Ovechkin and have received superior goaltending. In the end, I feel the Capitals speed and creativity will cause too much havoc for an average Philadelphia defense, and that will be the difference for Ovechkin and friends.
Prediction: Capitals in Six
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