has a role on the Flyers. He's their fourth-line center. He's their energy guy. He also was the team's best face-off guy this season (53 percent), 3 percent higher than
It was no surprise then, when he took a season-high 15 draws in Game 4 against four Capitals centers. Dowd won 12 of them for an astounding 80 percent success rate. He was 3 for 4 against another wily veteran, Sergei Fedorov.
"That is what gets my game going," Dowd said. "It starts with face-offs and goes from there. Most centers, when they have good games, they're good in the face-off circle. For me, especially, it's the one thing that got me more ice time throughout my career, being good on face-offs. . . . It's all timing. If your timing is good one night, it does not matter if your stick is down first or not."
have struggled a bit on face-offs in the series. Coach
used the righthanded Dowd for defensive draws on the right side in place of the lefthanded Richards.
"It's something we try to keep an eye on during games," Stevens said. "Joey [Mullen] is up there on the headset trying to give us more immediate feedback than we get at the end of the period. I just find if a guy is on the right side, he is on his backhand. Sometimes, that is his strength.
"A lot of times we'll put two centermen out there. We may put [Dowd] out there with Richie's line. Richie is our lefthanded centerman. . . . No question, this is something Jimmy takes pride in. There was a drop-off at the beginning of the year. He wasn't happy about it. He took extra pucks after practice, taking face-offs, and started to bear down."
A lot of Flyers are either playing in their first playoff games or playing their first postseason games in Flyers colors. Goalie
is doing both. "It was my first time playing in an overtime game in the playoffs, and it was a lot of fun," Biron said. "The pace of the game is so high. And the stakes in the game are so high. I felt like it flew by." . . . Capitals coach
didn't want to hear any comments about his team being young and satisfied just to have made the postseason. "That's a bunch of crap and stuff that people make up . . . that it's a young team and we're looking for an excuse," he said. "We want to win."
- Tim Panaccio