Thursday, April 12, 2012
Kelly's OT Winner Delivers Game 1 To The Bruins
Chris Kelly scored 1:18 into overtime tonight as the B's blanked the Washington Capitals 1-0 at TD Garden in Game 1 of their quarterfinal series.
It's been a pulsating start to the 2012 NHL playoffs as four of the seven games so far have gone to overtime. The defending Stanley Cup champs were able to stay focused when other teams might have become discouraged.
Caps rookie goaltender Braden Holtby (29 saves) was excellent, although I think he'd love to have another chance to stop Kelly's shot. Benoit Pouliot sprung Kelly on a partial breakaway and he was able to snipe it in the far corner from some distance. Brian Rolston had the other assist on the winning goal. I'm not saying it was an easy save or a bad shot but Holtby did make some more difficult stops earlier in the night.
By picking up his sixth career playoff shutout, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas (17 saves) was able to stay awake despite only facing seven shots in the first two periods. After carrying the play for the first two frames, Boston watched as Washington (9-3 shot advantage) looked like a different team in the third.
It being the postseason, the Bruins' woeful power-play from last spring appeared to carry over as they went 0 for 4, including a 4-minute advantage. Plus, they picked up a 2-minute penalty on the Capitals right after the 4-minute one expired so they basically had six straight minutes of a power-play, yet it yielded no goals.
If Washington was going to steal a game in Boston, this was the blueprint for such an upset. They didn't allow the Bruins too many good chances (even though they outshot the Caps 30-17) and for the most part, they were able to match Boston's physicality. Alex Ovechkin was clearly a marked man as he was hit hard on nearly every shift, sometimes two or three times.
Game 2 is Saturday afternoon at TD Garden (3 p.m. on NBC). Boston doesn't have to change anything, I expect Washington to play like the more desperate team in that one. The Bruins already proved that they can win a low-scoring game so don't be surprised if it opens up more as the series progresses.