Saturday, April 21, 2012
Capitals Put The Bruins On The Brink Of Elimination
Once again, Holtby (34 saves) was better than Thomas (28 saves) this afternoon and the Caps took a 3-2 series lead with a 4-3 win at TD Garden.
Every game this series has been decided by one goal and the Capitals have scored first four out of five times.
Washington opened up the first two-goal lead of the series but Boston battled back with a pair of goals in 28 seconds. The Capitals went ahead 3-2 in the third period but the Bruins responded with their first power-play goal of the series. Troy Brouwer (2nd of the playoffs) ended any thoughts of another overtime session as he snapped a shot over Thomas with 1:27 left in regulation. It was extremely deflating since it appeared to be a shot that Thomas would normally stop. No traffic or tips means that there were no excuses. That wasn't the only weak goal that Thomas allowed either.
The B's hit the post twice in the first period: Zdeno Chara rang the crossbar on a power-play and Daniel Paille skated in on a breakaway while Boston was short-handed but he also ended up unlucky.
After no goals in the first, Alexander Semin (3rd of the playoffs) scored on a rebound at 11:16 of the second. Dennis Wideman and Marcus Johansson assisted on the goal. Thomas made a good initial save but neither he nor his defense could clear it out of danger. Despite many bodies between him and the goal, Semin was able to squeeze it through.
The Capitals doubled their lead at 14:27 as Jay Beagle notched his first goal of the postseason. His shot was tipped on the way in but it also went right off Thomas' glove so I think it was one he should have stopped.
Just when it looked like the Bruins had flatlined, Milan Lucic found Dennis Seidenberg (1st of the playoffs) for a pretty goal at 17:21. David Krejci had the second assist. Everyone came out of witness protection (well except for Tyler Seguin) as Brad Marchand (1st of the playoffs) tied it at 17:49. Rich Peverley and Johnny Boychuk assisted on Holtby's token weak one of the contest. Marchand barely poked it but the puck found a hole through Holtby's leg pads.
The difference in the game was the third period. Thomas gave up two bad goals (for him) while Holtby made unquestionably the best stop in the series-a full split to deny Seguin. Old friend Mike Knuble (1st of the playoffs) put Washington up 3-2 at 3:21 when Thomas kicked Joel Ward's shot right to him. John Erskine had the second assist.
Boston snapped a woeful 0-for-16 start on the power play in these playoffs with Boychuk's blast from the point at 8:47. Seidenberg and Marchand picked up the assists. It was surprising to see Holtby get beat on a relatively routine shot from distance like that.
Game 6 is tomorrow afternoon in D.C. (3 p.m., NBC). Patrice Bergeron and Joe Corvo both left with injuries today so who knows if they'll be able to play. Boston has no choice but to win, otherwise it will be an extremely bitter end to a postseason that was filled with so much hope. It starts with Thomas, he needs to be much better. Likewise, their offense needs to show up as well. They can't go out like this.