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Ilya Bryzgalov shuts down the Washington Capitals

Mar 4, 2012, 10:20 PM EDT

With Philadelphia missing three of their top defensemen, Andrej Meszaros, Kimmo Timonen, and of course, Chris Pronger, someone had to step up if they were going to beat the Washington Capitals. Ilya Bryzgalov did just that.

Bryzgalov seems to have turned a corner since the All-Star break and he certainly came up big on Sunday, turning aside all 34 shots he faced in a 1-0 victory. He is now one win away from reaching the 25-victory mark for the fifth straight season. It was also his eighth straight start, although Bryzgalov apparently isn’t counting.

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The game got off to a heated start when Washington’s Troy Brouwer slammed Erik Gustafsson into the boards. That led to a fight between Brouwer and Scott Hartnell at 5:33 of the first period. However, things calmed down after that and there wasn’t a single penalty called in the second or third periods.

In a game that featured some of the NHL’s best forwards, it was Eric Wellwood, playing in his ninth career NHL contest, that scored the only goal of the match. Pavel Kubina and Matt Carle each recorded an assist.

Capitals coach Dale Hunter decided to limit Alex Ovechkin to just 16:11 minutes of playing time as his team was shutout for the second straight game. They’ll need to right their ship quickly if they want to avoid falling too far behind in the packed race for the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed. They have four games scheduled for next week, including key matchups against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

The Flyers primary job is to find a way to continue winning despite their injury woes. Although they are all-but certain to make the playoffs, the competition is fierce for fourth place. A bad March could result in them slipping all the way down to seventh place.

  1. scottfmullin - Mar 4, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Boy, the Caps are at a total low point right now

  2. tru2joelu4eva - Mar 4, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    that hurts…. to all the caps fans out there, it’s getting pretty obvious there are a lot of things not going right for the caps right now, but a lot of the blame for their performance probably has to be attributed to ovechkin’s captaincy, right? so what do you do? revoke it? and if you do, who replaces him, and more importantly, would you be able to keep him on the team after going through all that?

  3. subliminalnoize - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    To all the caps fans out there. Lets stop licking our wounds, stop coming to this site and posting about how this and that is wrong, and giving all these other fans the satisfaction they so desperately thrive on when they see us on here grumbling about Ovechkin(yes I’m guilty of doing that), and just start looking forward to next year. And that’s all I have to say about that.

    • tru2joelu4eva - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:15 PM

      it was a sincere question. i live on the west and don’t watch the team hardly at all. just curious what the fans think might help.

  4. tcclark - Mar 5, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    Since the All-Star break? Weren’t we just talking about how awful he was a week ago?

    • dsd3 - Mar 5, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      He’s at .920% post-ASG. He’s been playing well for those actually paying attention (not directed at you).

  5. dcfan4life - Mar 5, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    I was at this game. Ovechkin seemed absent at times from this game. Unable to control the puck from passes, missing opportunities, and yet he still had 2 really nice scoring chances. That just shows to me how he still has the skill, but his mind isnt into it. He isnt having any fun right now and its affecting his play tremendously. I have said it before, Brooks Laich is the only real leader on this team. When Chimera got the lone penalty in the first period for slashing, he refused to just sit in the box. He yelled at the ref over and over. Finally the ref looked as though to warn Chimera he may get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as well if he kept it up. You know who trotted right over to the box to tell Chimera to cool it and keep his head, Brooks Laich. Granted Ovechkin doesnt penalty kill so he wouldnt be on the ice, but its this type of action Laich does all the time, and Alex doesnt. If the captaincy should be stripped, Laich is the only deserving one. But what coach in his first year with no contract past this season in the heat of a playoff hunt would dare do something that drastic…?

  6. flyeredup2 - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    I think the league has caught on to all Ovie’s tricks and now know how to shut him down, and Ovie has been unable to adjust his game, and the frustration shows.

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