PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 22: Dennis Wideman #6 and Marcus Johansson #90 of the Washington Capitals celebrate a goal by Johansson against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period of an NHL hockey game at the Wells Fargo Center on March 22, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Capitals won 5-4 in a shootout. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Capitals Vs. Flyers: Washington Clinches Playoff Berth, But Philly Earns Point After Erasing 3-0 Deficit

Alex Semin scored the game-winning goal in the shootout to send the Washington Capitals to the postseason, but the Philadelphia Flyers earned a point after erasing a 3-0 deficit.

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Capitals Vs. Flyers, Final Score: Alex Semin's Shootout Winner Clinches Playoffs For Washington

PHILADELPHIA -- The Washington Capitals are headed to the playoffs. 

Alex Semin scored in the final round of the shootout to life his club to victory and two points over the first place Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night, but it wasn't an easy one for them.

After jumping out to a 3-0 lead on goals from Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble and Dennis Wideman in the first 22 minutes of play, the Flyers stormed back for three goals of their own in the second and third periods. That, of course, after rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled in favor of Brian Boucher after the third Caps' goal.

Andreas Nodl was the catalyst, crashing the net on a Kris Versteeg pass attempt that went in off the skate of Dennis Wideman, throwing a perfect pass to Claude Giroux late in the second, and finally, scoring on a one-on-one chance in front of Michal Neuvirth. 

Danny Briere gave the Flyers a lead with just five minutes left in the game, and it looked as though the comeback would be complete and the home crowd would go home happy. Marcus Johansson, however, had other plans. His 12th goal of the year, a laser that beat Boucher, came with just over three minutes left in the game.

The Flyers controlled play for most of overtime, but in the shootout, Boucher didn't have an answer for the Caps' attack. Matt Hendricks, Backstrom and Semin all scored, while only Ville Leino and Briere scored for the Flyers. Ball game, two points to Washington.

Philly still had control of the conference with a one-point lead and two games in hand, but despite that, and despite blowing a three-goal lead, the Capitals were still happy with the evening. 

"I think the important part, from our standpoint, was that a team comes back and scores four goals and gets the lead," Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game. "We had the character to not give up or quit. I think that most teams would give up in a building like this and the switch of momentum that occurred. We weren't getting any shots in the end, but we were able to come back and that was important to us." 

Peter Laviolette was equally as pleased on the Flyers side of things, despite the loss. 

"The fans were great tonight," he said. "The team played great. We would like to leave with another point. Everybody gets one hoo-rah in the end. That didn't happen for us tonight. Saying that, if I would evaluate the game and the way our guys played, that's about an honest effort we have had in about a month."       

It's not too often you see a game between two bitter rivals, battling for the same spot in the standings, end up with smiles on both ends. Just that kind of night tonight, apparently. 

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