BOSTON -- Chris Kelly broke a 0-0 tie 1:18 into overtime as the Boston Bruins beat the Washington Capitals to take a 1-0 lead in this Eastern Conference quarterfinals series. Tim Thomas came up huge in the third period with nine saves, finishing with 17 overall, while Braden Holtby was sensational for the Capitals in his first career playoff start, making 29 saves.
Thomas stays sharp, gives Bruins a chance to win: Tim Thomas faced only seven shots through the first two periods and only two in the second, but when the Capitals finally started to click on offense, Thomas was still up to the task. Any goalie deserves credit when he can remain focused through a lack of action, as Thomas did before the Bruins were outshot 9-3 in the third period. Thomas would need to make just one save in overtime -- and it was a good one on Alex Ovechkin -- before the Bruins rewarded him in the extra frame. Thomas finished with 17 saves and earned his sixth career playoff shutout.
K-E-L-L-Y: It seems everyone whom Claude Julien has put on a line with Chris Kelly this season has been successful, and that’s because of Kelly’s work ethic. Kelly scored a career-high 20 goals this season, but he probably would have traded all of those for the overtime winner he got in Game 1, breaking up a gem of a game by Braden Holtby. Kelly’s speed and hustle led to the goal, and following the game, the 17,565 fans in attendance were chanting his name.
Drayden Holtby? Almost! Older Bruins fans remember -- or, rather, try not to remember -- what Hall of Fame and former Canadiens goalie Ken Dryden did to the heavily favored Bruins as a relatively unknown netminder called up late in the 1970-71 season. Dryden, of course, stonewalled the then-defending Stanley Cup champions and led the Habs to the first of five Stanley Cups. Well, Braden Holtby may or may not go on to such success, but watching him in Game 1 against the 2011 defending champs, it was hard not to think of Dryden. Holtby was a wall for the Capitals until they finally woke up in the third period and had some offensive pressure. The unknown rookie Caps goalie stopped 26 shots through the first two periods as his team mustered just seven shots. Unfortunately for him and the Capitals, the only goal he allowed came in overtime as he let a floater from Kelly get by him for the winner. Holtby finished with 29 saves and proved he is ready for playoff hockey.
Power play struggles again: Last season the Bruins somehow made it through the Stanley Cup playoffs and hoisted the Cup despite a horrid power play. Thankfully they had a brilliant penalty kill, but it was an amazing feat that they were able to capture the Cup with such an anemic man-advantage. Well, the Bruins think they may be able to do it again. Their power play in Game 1 could’ve been the difference in breaking a stingy game open, but Holtby’s goaltending and the Bruins' failure to create chances meant they went 0-for-4. Boston failed to score on a four-minute man-advantage in the first period or on a 4-on-3 chance in the second period.
Boychuk returns and McQuaid remains out: Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk returned from an April 3 knee sprain that caused him to miss the last two regular-season games. However, fellow blueliner Adam McQuaid remained out with an upper-body injury. That meant Joe Corvo remained on the blue line and Mike Mottau was the healthy scratch on defense. Up front, Jordan Caron was a healthy scratch as well. Here’s what the lineup looked like for Game 1:
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon-Joe Corvo