Monday, April 16, 2012
Bruins Answer The Bell, Solve Holtby In 4-3 Thriller
Tonight at Verizon Center, Boston beat Washington 4-3 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. After scoring two goals combined in the first two games, the B's were able to get traffic in front of Holtby (25 saves), roll four lines (that all had tangible contributions) and grab their first lead(s) of the series.
For the third consecutive game, this one looked to be headed for overtime but Bruins captain Zdeno Chara saved Boston from that dicey scenario with a clutch goal at 18:07 in the third period. Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg assisted on Chara's first of the playoffs, a one-timer that was a low missile that Holtby could not stop.
Washington scored the first goal but Boston was able to rally twice (down 1-0 and 2-1) to tie it and eventually take a 3-2 lead. The Capitals scored with six minutes left in regulation, a backbreaking goal on a truly putrid defensive breakdown by the B's.
Alexander Semin (1st of the playoffs) scored a power-play goal with four minutes left in the first period. His screened wrist shot found its way past Tim Thomas (29 saves) with assists from Brooks Laich and Alex Ovechkin.
After a slow first period, the Bruins woke up early in the second as Rich Peverley (1st of the playoffs) squeezed one past Holtby 35 seconds in. It was a save that the rookie should have made, the first semi-soft one he's allowed thus far. Nevertheless, a first line forward for Boston finally produced a goal. Chara and Andrew Ference had the helpers.
Before I could even tweet about that goal, Washington scored 13 seconds later. Laich's flip/dump pass found Ovechkin and his shot was deflected by Seidenberg past Thomas. Ovie's first of the playoffs was also assisted by Roman Hamrlik.
Daniel Paille (1st of the [playoffs) made sure Boston wouldn't face another deficit after two periods. He scored on a rebound at 9:38 with assists to Greg Zanon and Gregory Campbell.
A good sign for Boston is that they had jump to start the third and scored an early goal, again. Brian Rolston (1st of the playoffs) scored on another juicy rebound by Holtby. Funny how average a goaltender can look when you get some bodies in his field of vision and don't settle for 50-foot shots. Chris Kelly and Chara assisted on Rolston's first playoff goal for Boston since 2004.
Laich (1st of the playoffs) tied it at 3 after a home-run pass from Nicklas Backstrom found him alone by the Boston bench. He skated in on Thomas and roofed a forehand shot. Mike Green had the second assist.
Game 4 is on Thursday night in D.C. so these teams will have an extra day off to let the hatred build. I didn't think the Capitals had it in them but I guess their head coach Dale Hunter has brainwashed them into taking cheapshots (Examples: Jason Chimera spearing Brad Marchand in the balls and Backstrom picking up a 10-minute match penalty at the final whistle). By the rulebook, Backstrom will miss Game 4 but Hunter said in his postgame comments that he thinks the NHL will rescind it. We shall see about that. Oh and Karl Alzner (who?) made fun of Milan Lucic by making a crybaby hand gesture after a scrum. Haha have fun dealing with that crazy Karl.
There's a big difference between being up 3-1 in a series or tied 2-2 so I have faith that the Bruins will be focused and as a result, they'll play well. Please for the love of God, can they score a power play goal? They were 0 for 5 this evening which makes them 0 for 11 in the playoffs.
UPDATE 4/17: Backstrom had his disciplinary hearing today and his suspension is upheld, he will miss Game 4 on Thursday for his cross-check of Rich Peverley at the end of Game 3. Huge loss for the Caps and a really dumb play by him.