Mike Green is missing in action in Washington.
Not only is Green not playing due to an injury, Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com tells us that Green missed his third straight day of skating today. Green has been hurt more often than he’s played this year and his injury status has remained mostly a mystery since he went out of action weeks ago. Last we heard in mid-November was that he was out with a strained groin.
Green’s absence has been a source of issues for the Caps as they’ve been juggling players along the blue line opting to switch between John Erskine, Roman Hamrlik, and Jeff Schultz while rookie Dmitry Orlov was brought up from the AHL to try and figure things out. Dennis Wideman has helped out a bit offensively but Green is the guy that makes it all go.
The Caps are improving and looking stronger as the days go on with Dale Hunter in charge, but without Green they’re not as strong of a team. While teams like Philly and Toronto have had issues with being clear about player injuries, there’s been a virtual blackout about Mike Green’s status.
There will be no miracle comebacks for the Flyers this year. Boston earned redemption for their extreme collapse last season by sweeping the Flyers out of the playoffs this year and doing it in impressive fashion once again tonight beating Philadelphia 5-1.
Defense and goaltending have been the issues for Philadelphia all playoffs long and tonight they suffered bouts with both of these again. It only makes sense that the same problems that kept them from winning the first three games helped prevent them from prolonging the series and making doubt creep into the heads of the Bruins.
Things were coming up so much for Boston that the often absent from this series Milan Lucic showed up in a big way tonight adding two goals including a power play goal in the first to kick off the scoring for Boston.
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While the Flyers were able to tie things up in the second period thanks to a goal from Kris Versteeg, in the third the Bruins would not let Sergei Bobrovsky (22 saves) go quietly. Johnny Boychuk would get the Bruins the lead just 2:42 into the third to make it 2-1 and the Bruins wouldn’t look back as they locked things down defensively and let Tim Thomas do the rest in stopping 22 shots in the game. At 15:03 Lucic would score his second of the goal game to ice things. Brad Marchand and Daniel Paille would add empty net goals to complete the deal and finish off Philadelphia in euphoric style.
For Boston the win helps them build confidence as they head to their first Eastern Conference final since 1992 when they were beaten by Mario Lemeiux’s Pittsburgh Penguins. There, former University of Vermont teammates and alums Tim Thomas and Martin St. Louis will do battle against each other for a shot at the Stanley Cup final. The two are old friends and with St. Louis being a Hart Trophy finalist and Thomas a Vezina Trophy finalist the stage is set for those two to have a classic battle.
Boston may have other worries however as Patrice Bergeron left the game after a collision with Claude Giroux that left Bergeron rattled. Bergeron has a history of concussion issues, those of which began against the Flyers years ago thanks to a hit from then Flyers defenseman and current Lightning blue liner Randy Jones. Coach Claude Julien did not have an update on Bergeron after the game.
Philadelphia will need to go into the offseason looking to answer the same question they had after last year’s Stanley Cup final failure: Who will play in goal? After all three Flyers goalies proved to be shaky at best, the Flyers should be focused on ponying up some money and finding some cap space for next year and beyond to take a run at guys like Tomas Vokoun or Ilya Bryzgalov. These sorts of disappointment don’t go over well in Philadelphia and even though they may have overshot themselves last year as a seven seed, failing out as a two seed is inexcusable.
While Senators fans were on pins and needles hoping for the best of news concerning captain Daniel Alfredsson and his “lower body injury” yesterday, they can breathe a little bit easier today as Alfredsson will start tomorrow night against Carolina.
“I just felt a little soreness in one of my muscles,” Alfredsson, who was given a community building award by United Way Wednesday, said of his early departure from Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss in Washington. “It was just precautionary. Nothing serious at all. I should be ready tomorrow .”
The Sens are already dealing with issues along their blue line with Filip Kuba out and Erik Karlsson notably struggling. Losing Alfredsson up front for any amount of time would be a tough pill to swallow for a team that’s struggling to score goals early on (four goals in three games). Of course, the Sens could stand to be better in all areas right now, but having to deal with any additional subtractions to the lineup wouldn’t help anything in Canada’s capital city.
For now, Senators fans can relax just a little bit with Alfredsson back in the lineup. If they can get Jason Spezza going they might just be able to get things rolling.