Sunday, April 22, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Bruins 4, Capitals 3 (OT)
By Joe McDonald
WASHINGTON -- The 2011-2012 NHL season is not over for the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
The Bruins were able to stave off elimination in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals and won 4-3 on Sunday afternoon at Verizon Center.
Boston surrendered the lead three times until Tyler Seguin netted the game-winning goal in overtime at 3:17.
For only the second time in this series, the Bruins took a 1-0 lead when Rich Peverley redirected a shot from the point by Andrew Ference. It was the kind of momentum the Bruins needed on road ice, but the Capitals responded and tied the game at 1-1 when the puck bounced their way and ricocheted past Boston goalie Tim Thomas at 9:47 of the first period. Washington defenseman Mike Green unleashed a wicked slap shot from the left point, but the puck was redirected off Bruins defenseman Greg Zanon.
Fortunately for the Bruins, they finally scored on the power play when David Krejci snuck one past Braden Holtby at 16:48 for a 2-1 advantage. It was Krejci's first goal of this postseason. As far as Boston's man-advantage, with that tally the Bruins are 2-for-17 on the power play this postseason.
Early in the second period, the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin was given a double-minor penalty, for cutting the nose of the Bruins' Zdeno Chara on a high stick to the face. Boston, however, could not convert and produced just a pair of shots.
Washington tied the game at 2-2 with only 41.9 seconds remaining in the second period. But before the Capitals' Jason Chimera scored, it appeared he had caught the Bruins' Brad Marchand with an elbow to the face. Marchand fell to the ice and was bleeding from the mouth but there was no whistle. The replay showed very little contact as Marchand was hit in the face by his own stick.
Either way, Washington knotted the game.
Boston started the third period with a 4-on-3 situation for 1:23, and again, couldn't capitalize.
It happens so many times when one goalie makes a big save and then his team goes on the attack and produces. That's exactly what led to Boston's go-ahead goal at 11:57 of the third period.
Thomas made a shoulder save, the Bruins gained control and quickly started the other way. Tyler Seguin had the puck down the right side and took a wrister. Holtby made the initial stop but left the rebound in the slot. Ference crashed through a scrum in front of the net and pumped in the goal.
That lead wouldn't hold for long.
With the faceoff to the left of Thomas, the Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom won the drop cleanly back to Ovechkin, who snapped off a shot through traffic and beat Thomas to the five-hole at 15:08.
SAVE OF THE GAME: It's a fair assessment to say that Thomas has not been playing at the same level he did during the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. But it's only the first round and he saved Game 6 and potentially the series for the Bruins. With Boston holding a 2-1 lead with 9:10 remaining in the second period, the Capitals had sustained pressure in the offensive zone and were using tape-to-tape passes to elude the Boston defenders. The Capitals' Marcus Johansson had a golden opportunity for a backdoor goal, but Thomas stuck out his stick and stoned him with an incredible save.
OFF THE SCHNEID: Krejci finally notched his first goal of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs with a power-play goal at 16:48 of the first period to give the Bruins a 2-1. Krejci was a beast during the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, leading the league in playoff scoring with 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points in 25 games -- the first Bruin to do so since Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito tied for the playoff scoring lead in 1972 with 25 points in 15 games.
WHEN IT TIME TO CHANGE: With Bergeron a game-time decision due to a undisclosed injury, Julien decided Shawn Thornton would be a healthy scratch and inserted Jordan Caron, likely for depth at center if needed. In fact, Bergeron played on the wing with Rich Peverley at center and Brad Marchand on the other side. Caron was on the line with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille.
RASK RETURNS: For the first time since he suffered a groin/abdominal injury on March 3, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask dressed as backup. During his absence, Anton Khudobin served as backup for Tim Thomas.
UP NEXT: The series shifts back to Boston for Game 7 on Wednesday at TD Garden.