Sunday, April 22, 2012
Tyler Seguin Scores In Overtime, Bruins Force Game 7 Back In Boston
The Bruins still never make it easy on themselves but they pulled out a 4-3 overtime win this afternoon at the Verizon Center in D.C. to force Game 7 on Wednesday night (time TBA). Tyler Seguin scored his first goal of the playoffs off a pretty play from Milan Lucic (2 assists) and David Krejci (1 goal, 1 assist) as Boston blew three separate one-goal leads but still prevailed.
Krejci intercepted a bad clearing pass by the Capitals and fed Lucic, who took a hit but released the puck right on time to Seguin. The second-year player was able to beat his defender to the outside then work around Braden Holtby (27 saves). It was a goal-scorer's move that few other guys on the Bruins could possibly make let alone execute in that type of high-stakes game situation.
This series which wasn't that anticipated coming in, has been nothing short of a classic (haha assuming the B's win Game 7). Each game has been decided by one goal (first time in NHL history that the first 6 games have been like that): there have been three 4-3 games, two 2-1 games and one 1-0 game. If that's not enough, this was the third time in six games that they have needed overtime. Basically, if you make it through this series as a Bruins fan without suffering a heart attack, you are in damn good shape.
The Bruins have only played with a lead twice this series (Game 3, Game 6), they've scored first only twice (Game 1, Game 6) and this will be the fifth time in their last six playoff series that they've gone seven games.
It's easy to look back in hindsight because they won but this would have been a particularly brutal way to lose (and crash out of the playoffs) since Boston had two golden opportunities right away in OT: Zdeno Chara had Holtby way out of position but he wasn't able to get a shot off. Then Patrice Bergeron tipped a shot off the crossbar.
The B's played with urgency from the start, illustrated by the fact that Rich Peverley (3rd of the playoffs) scored 5:56 into the first period. He tipped in Andrew Ference's shot from the point with the banged up Bergeron picking up the other assist.
Washington responded less than four minutes later as Mike Green (1st of the playoffs) banked a shot off Greg Zanon's leg and past Tim Thomas (36 saves). It was a bad break, the kind that the Caps have seemingly taken advantage of all series long.
Krejci (1st of the playoffs) scored a power-play goal at 16:48 of the first period from Lucic and Peverley. It was definitely a shot that Holtby would like back since the puck hit him in the chest area but still squirted by him. Regardless, it was huge for the Bruins to get Krejci on the scoresheet and on the man-advantage no less (their second of the series and in as many games).
The Caps tied it two with 42 seconds left in the second period on a bizarre play. Brad Marchand spun and took a flop in Washington's defensive zone, trying to get a call, but he didn't and the Capitals ended up with a rush up the other end. Nicklas Backstrom found Jason Chimera (1st of the playoffs) with a pretty backhand saucer pass that the goon just had to tap in. Dennis Seidenberg was caught behind Chimera and Thomas sold out thinking Backstrom would shoot. People freaked out on Twitter that it should have been a penalty but honestly, Marchand can't pull that type of Montreal Canadiens type crap. Hopefully he'll learn from that mistake.
Ference (1st of the playoffs) scored a clutch goal at 11:57 of the third, following up a rebound from Seguin's shot. Unfortunately, Thomas gave up a soft goal to Alex Ovechkin (2nd of the playoffs) at 15:08 to tie it up once again and eventually force overtime. Yes, Boston gave Ovechkin a ton of space in the shooting lane but he didn't exactly rip it. The puck went through Thomas' five hole, much like Troy Brouwer's game-winner in Game 5, it was one that Thomas has to stop if the Bruins are going to advance.
Thank God that these teams and the fans get a couple days off before Game 7. If they played again tomorrow or even Tuesday, they would be dead. After playing two wild 4-3 games the last two days, we all get a chance to take a breath and allow the proper hype and buildup for what should be an awesome Game 7.
Joe Corvo missed today's game with a knee injury so Mike Mottau took his place. The other Boston move was replacing Shawn Thornton with Jordan Caron. Plus, Tuukka Rask was Thomas' backup for the first time in the series.
Clearly, Wednesday night will almost certainly be a one-goal game. I would be shocked if it's not very tight either way. Overtime is a real possibility too. Beyond that, who knows? There is nothing better than a Game 7 in the NHL playoffs so let's all enjoy it as much as possible. You can never be sure who will step up and be the hero or likewise, be the goat. Boston is 1-2 at home so far but I can guarantee that the Garden will be electric on Wednesday. As always in big games, the Bruins will rely on their leaders: Thomas, Chara and Bergeron to set the tone. If they all play like they are capable of, the B's will be hard to beat.
UPDATE 4/24: Bruins-Capitals Game 7 on Wednesday will begin at 7:30 p.m.