Boston Bruins Beat: Bruins brought to the brink of elimination vs. resilient Capitals
Published: Monday, April 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012 21:04
It seems as if the Bruins’ chance at a second Stanley Cup will come down to a Game 7.
Last Sunday, the Bruins outplayed the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center, extending the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to a do-or-die final game. The Bruins will have the benefit of returning home for this crucial match, with a rowdy Boston crowd to cheer them on.
In Game Six, the defending Stanley Cup Champions took an early lead with a tip-in goal by center Rich Peverley. Although center Patrice Bergeron played in the game despite an injury suffered in game five, coach Claude Julien was rewarded with an excellent offensive effort from makeshift center Peverley.
Therefore, Boston found itself with added reinforcements in a game where they desperately needed it.
The Bruins and Capitals were even with two goals apiece until 20-year-old Bruins center Tyler Seguin swiped the puck from left-wing Alexander Semin and streaked down the right wing. Seguin fired and missed his shot, but defenseman Andrew Ference recovered the puck and slipped it by Capitals goalie Braden Holtby for the go-ahead goal.
At the end of regulation, the game was tied 3-3. With only a few minutes played in overtime, center David Krejci nabbed a Capitals pass and shot it down the ice to left wing Milan Lucic. Lucic was well-defended, but he shuttled the puck to the right to Seguin. From there, Seguin glided past an aggressive Holtby and fired the puck into the net, giving the Bruins one more chance to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Last Saturday, the Bruins suffered a critical loss that put their backs against the wall. The game came down to the wire. The Bruins and Capitals were tied 3-3 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. A Bruins penalty, though, allowed Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer to hit a wrist shot past Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.
“The last goal he fooled me and beat me clean,” he said. “He’s coming down with a lot of speed, and he shot, and I read that the shot was going lower. And by the time I even realized that the shot was going that high, I didn’t even have time to raise my hand.”
The Capitals took a 4-3 advantage and, moments later, the game as well.
Last Thursday, Boston had the chance to knock Washington to the brink of elimination and take a 3-1 advantage in the series. However, the Bruins could not offset the Capitals’ strong energy and determination to even the series.
Although Boston dominated the ice early on, the Capitals were resilient. A hooking penalty on Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk gave the Capitals a key opportunity. With the game tied 1-1, Semin ripped the go-ahead goal and put Boston away.
Washington was shorthanded heading into the game, especially with the loss of center, and 2006 first-round draft selection, Nicklas Bäckström. However, Holtby saved the day, racking up 44 saves, and was the focus of praise.
“He just makes it very calm for the rest of us,” forward Brooks Laich said. “If we give up a shot, we know [Holtby] is going to cover it. … When you have a goaltender that is on top of his game, it really, really settles your team down. He was a leader for us tonight.”
The rise of Holtby has served as one of the more dramatic storylines of this series. A third-string goalie, Holtby was called on during the last game of the regular season following injuries to goalies Tomãs Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth. Holtby has become a pseudo-legend in the games he has played so far. Although he has not risen to the recognition level of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, Holtby does have something that Lin has not yet earned: playoff wins.
The Bruins will fight for their playoff lives tomorrow night at home.