Sunday, January 17, 2010
By Joe Beninati
Whether or not fans have met Brooks Laich in person they can tell that he's a class act and a good guy. That's why the Verizon Center faithful was so thrilled to see Laich lead the charge today over the Flyers. After a lunchtime meeting with Bruce Bourdreau, Brooks came out energized against a Philadelphia team, he and his mates don't necessarily like.The first period was a bit rocky for Jose Theodore. The Flyers grabbed the lead when Jeff Carter cashed in a snap shot on the power play that caught Theodore between the skates. Each time the Flyers scored in the opening period, the Caps had an appropriate response. The guys were talking about a playoff atmosphere today inside the building and the arena was buzzing like it was spring time. When Laich dug a rebound out from Ray Emery to end the first period scoring summary, folks had the feeling that D.C. had taken Philly's best punch and was ready to take over.
Before I move ahead, it was deserving to mention the kinship Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble are developing in front of the net. Knuble had to love scoring from the doorstep against his old club. Once Theodore recovered from that first period he produced another solid effort in the final two frames.
This was another physical battle as most Caps-Flyers games have become. Alex Semin's power play goal gave the Caps the lead for good in the second period, but thank goodness that Mike Richards wide open slap shot caught the post.
When Brooks converted a shorting breakaway late in the middle period the roof nearly came off Verizon Center. The same thunderous applause was delivered when Ovechkin faked Emery into the the next zipcode on a penalty shot in the third.
The Caps played a solid in-your-face type game today and they have tremendous momentum with them whenever they play here surrounded by almost 19,000 red-clad rockers.That will be the color of the night on Tuesday when Detroit enters D.C. Even though they've been saddled with injuries, the Red Wings are always formidable. Don't miss that one on CSN!