On a sloppy, sluggish night, the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers met for the first time since last year's fantastic finish of their opening-round playoff series.
With the stinging memory of a 4-3 series loss fresh in their minds, the Caps dropped their first game of the preseason, 2-1 at the Wachovia Center—continuing their struggles against teams housed in Pennslyvania.
Not much took place in way of action till the second period when ex-Capital Glen Metropolit broke the 0-0 tie, with a score from the slot after taking the assist from teammate, Joffrey Lupul.
Lupul was rewarded for his efforts in the third period, scoring a power-play goal at the 2:19 mark to secure the win.
The Caps couldn't muster much from their unit, as they finished the game 0-8 when a man up. They would like to answer the Flyers' win with a victory of their own. The teams switch gears and head back to Washington for another tussle at the Verizon Center tomorrow evening.
The lone goal in Washington's favor was ironically tallied by Nicklas Backstrom. Mr. Assist was unassisted on the score, and the marker helped avoid the shutout in front a large crowd.
The attendance was noted at a highly respectable 17,523 people. Martin Biron stopped 19 shots in all. The backup goalie to incumbent starter Jose Theodore, Brent Johnson stopped 22 shots.
Another ex-Capital made his presence felt through offense and defense. Steve Eminger assisted on Lupul's power-play goal, and was whistled for a roughing penalty at the 11:27 mark of the first period.
Thought to be a player with a solid upside, Eminger failed to earn a long-term deal in DC. His departure has made room for guys like Jeff Schultz to gain experience, and build chemistry with the other, talented defensemen.
With the Caps' final roster all but set, it's the Flyers that are looking to stay healthy and hope to return to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009.
The fans rockin the red in Washington hope to improve on a 94-point season and advance further into the playoffs. To do that, they will have to get off to a better start under the AHL's winningest coach, Bruce Boudreau.
It will be interesting to note whether the Capitals can find another consistent scoring threat to complement Alex Ovechkin. So turn those TVs to Hi Def come opening night.
Oh, and pass the nachos.