As a continuation of PSN’s playoff series, we now move onto some notable game fours in playoff history. This time, we’re going to take you back to about a decade ago. Game four of 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Capitals was a pivotal game for Philly, as they took down the Caps 4-3.
April 17, 2008- Philadelphia Flyers Host Washington Capitals
Prior to the division realignment, the Caps found themselves atop the Southeast division, as the Flyers finished second in the Atlantic. This being said, the now division rivals found themselves battling in the first round. Despite the Capitals taking game one, the Flyers stole one at the nation’s capital and then won two consecutive on home ice. Let’s see how they took the three games to one lead:
After gaining a head of steam in games two and three, the Flyers came out hot in game four. Scottie Upshall found Mike Knuble in the slot, who fed Jeff Carter for a goal 43 seconds in. Everything seemed to be going in the Flyers’ favor.
However, it didn’t take long for the Caps to respond. On the ensuing drive by the Capitals, Scott Hartnell would go after a Cap, which led to a giant scrum between the two teams. The Capitals would wind up with the powerplay, where Nicklas Backstrom would operate where he did best: down low. Backstrom scored after a sweet feed from Ovechkin, tying the score at one apiece.
Early in this game, the Flyers became their own worst enemy. As the game ticked past the halfway mark of the opening period, the Flyers wound up giving Washington a two-man advantage. The Caps, a team that ranked in the top three for scoring in 2008, would not let these opportunities go to waste. Backstrom and Ovi would work together to find Alex Semin backdoor to give the Caps the lead.
As the period began to wind down, playoff Jeff Carter kicked into gear for Philly. Carter would finesse the puck past Capital defenders to keep the puck alive in the offensive zone. Soon enough, he found the open space and was rewarded with a great pass from Jaroslav Modry to tie this game up late in the first period.
Marty Biron would keep the Flyers in this game as well. Washington pressured the Flyers in the last minute, and he locked all windows and doors to keep the game tied at two.
After an eventful first period, the following frame was much more easygoing. The highlight of the period would come about five minutes in.
Alexander Semin would dance into the low slot, but Biron had the answer. However, the puck leaked out to the far board, where Steve Eminger would quickly snap off a shot to beat the squirming Biron, giving the Caps the lead again.
The remainder of the second period was full of big hits, hit posts, and lost chances for both sides. The Capitals saw the light as they had a wide-open net, but thanks to some great back-checking by Danny Briere, the Flyers would keep themselves at a 3-2 deficit heading into the third period.
Similar to the second period, the third frame was far from as eventful compared to the first. Both teams were struggling to find the back of the net, and the game didn’t look to be going the Flyers’ way. Halfway through the period, Scottie Upshall got absolutely robbed by Cristobal Huet in the clear save of the game.
However, the scramble by the Capitals led to a “Pecoooo powerplay” for the Flyers. After failing to find the back of the net for an entire period and a half, Mike Richards made magic happen. He fed Danny Briere with a beautiful pass, which was capped off by Briere’s patented celly.
Both sides failed to score for the rest of the game, as both goalies stood on their heads. With the score knotted at three after three, onto overtime we went.
The first overtime period was all Washington. They peppered Marty Biron with shots. Even before the 3-on-3 overtime era, the Caps were getting odd-man rushes on what seemed like every play. Luckily for the Flyers though, Biron had all the answers.
Following the lackluster effort during the first extra period, coach John Stevens rallied his troops. The Flyers came out hot in the final frame and capitalized early into the last period.
Only six minutes in, all three Flyers’ forwards were swarmed around the net. After numerous attempts to bang one home, Mike Knuble finally got the job done:
What Happened Next:
As Flyers’ fans, we all know that Philly likes to make things as heart-wrenching as possible. Despite taking a 3-1 series lead following this win, the Flyers couldn’t put the Caps away easily. Washington would take games five and six to tie the series up at three and force a game seven. It took an additional overtime period, but the Flyers snuck by the Southeast Division winners.
The Flyers would move onto face the Montreal Canadiens in the conference semi-finals. This series would prove to be a much easier opponent for Philly, as they would nearly sweep the Habs. Montreal would win game one, but the Flyers found themselves winners of the next four.
Despite this crazy momentum, the Flyers would run into yet another near-dynasty in the 2008 Penguins. The Penguins nearly swept Philly, but the Flyers were able to sneak out a game four win. Inevitably though, the Pens would defeat the Flyers in game five, leading to their Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
Mandatory Credit – Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America