|What Tim Thomas did – and didn’t – see on the Capitals’ game-winner||04.14.12 at 9:29 pm ET|
There’s an old hockey adage that was proven very true Saturday as the Capitals tied the Bruins at a game apiece in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series – you can’t stop what you can’t see.
When Marcus Johansson outworked Johnny Boychuk for the loose puck in the defensive cornerboards, the Swede fed his native countryman Nicklas Backstrom to nearly the exact same spot Chris Kelly won Game 1.
Only difference this time was that there was a lot more traffic in front of the goalie. And in this case, Tim Thomas practically had no chance, unless he was lucky enough to have the puck hit him. No such luck.
“I just had time to yell ‘screen’ and then I think I picked it up about halfway to me, but it was one of those knuckle [shots],” Thomas said. “You can’t get a read on exactly where it’s going. It is what it was.”
Asked if the shot dipped on him or just fluttered, Thomas again couldn’t describe what he couldn’t see.
“I didn’t see it enough to tell you,” Thomas added.
It was a bizarre kind of game for Thomas, who thought he was going to smother a puck that fluttered in on him in the second period. But out of nowhere Greg Zanon collided with him as he was trying to cover and Troy Brouwer was on the spot to find it, and flip a backhander between his legs while he was on the ground trying to get on it. Read the rest of this entry »
|Alexander Ovechkin: ‘It’s going to be a long series’||at 7:35 pm ET|
Washington figured to be a tougher matchup for the Bruins than Ottawa, but the series between the B’s and Capitals has been more evenly matched than most probably expected.
Both teams have two goals through two games, both of which were decided in overtime. At the end of regulation Saturday, the teams were separated by one shot on goal. And, thanks to Nicklas Backstrom‘s game-winner early in the second overtime period Saturday, the series is knotted at one game apiece heading to the nation’s capital.
“I would say it’s going to be a long series,” Alexander Ovechkin said after the game. “For us it was very important to win this game and get the series tied, and go back home and have home advantage to play against the Bruins. The power play is going to be involved and again we are pretty happy, but it was a long game and everybody is tired and needs some rest.”
|Capitals take Game 2 in double overtime||at 6:44 pm ET|
The Capitals evened the series at one game apiece as Nicklas Backstrom scored 2:56 into the second overtime period to give Washington a 2-1 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Benoit Pouliot scored his first career playoff goal in the third period to tie the game, and the teams finished regulation knotted at one with nearly identical shots on goal (30-29, Bruins).
With Braden Holtby stepping out to clear a puck heading to the net, Pouliot turned on the jets and got to the puck just in time to chip it over the 22-year-old goaltender to tie the game.
The Capitals had initially taken the lead in the second period when they got their first goal of the series at 17:57 of the second period. Troy Brouwer poked the puck under the gloves of Greg Zanon and Tim Thomas to give Washington the 1-0 lead.
Holtby had 29 saves in regulation for the Capitals, while Thomas stopped 28 of 29 shots in the first three periods. The Bruins outshot the Capitals by an 11-8 count in the first overtime period.
The series will move to Washington for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Thursday, respectively.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Brouwer’s second-period goal ended Tim Thomas‘ postseason shutout streak 161:41. Thomas was coming off two straight shutouts, as he blanked the Canucks in Game 7 last June and the Capitals on Thursday night. The last playoff goal he had allowed prior to Brouwer’s was a Maxim Lapierre tally at 17:34 of the third period in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.
– Once again, Braden Holtby was sharp for the Capitals. After keeping the Bruins off the board through regulation in Game 1, Holtby came up with some big stops on Bergeron, amongst others, and kept the game scoreless when the Bruins had a flurry of opportunities in the second period prior to Brouwer’s goal. His work continued into the third period, was he robbed Brad Marchand in front with around 12 minutes to go.
– After being kept quiet in Game 1, Alexander Ovechkin was more involved Saturday. He had far more opportunities and picked up the primary assist on Brouwer’s goal, meaning he has still never gone two straight playoff games without a point. He also got away with a second-period cross-check of Dennis Seidenberg that went unpenalized.
– Patrice Bergeron, was the best statistical faceoff man in the league during the regular season, won only three of eight draws in the first period. He went 3-for-6 on faceoffs in the second period, and his work from the dot was far below his 59.3 mark before turning it around to the point where he was 13-for-22 after the first OT.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– In his first 22 career playoff games, Benoit Pouliot had two points (both assists). All of those games came as a bottom-six forward (21 in Montreal, one in Minnesota), but Pouliot has matched that point total with a goal and an assist in his first two postseason contests as a Bruin. Further proof that being a third-liner for Claude Julien provides more opportunities than being a third-liner elsewhere.
– Pouliot is no strange to taking penalties in the offensive zone, but he drew one in the first period after some fancy stick work around Mike Green. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they would not convert on the power play and finished the day 0-for-2 on the man advantage.
– The Merlot Line had a difficult time sustaining pressure in the offensive zone in Game 1, but the trio was much better on Saturday. Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton combined for eight shots on goal and didn’t find themselves stuck in their own end like they did Thursday.
|Johnny Boychuk: ‘So far so good’ after return from knee injury||04.13.12 at 2:20 pm ET|
Without Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference playing effectively as the second pairing, the whole operation could fall apart, especially against a team like Washington that spreads its offensive talent to create a more balanced attack.
For that reason, the Bruins should be breathing a sigh of relief. Playing in his first game since spraining his right knee on April 3 against the Penguins, Boychuk handled his return well, helping to shut down Nicklas Backstrom‘s line. He looked so much like himself, in fact, that his partner didn’t even realize he was playing in his first game back from an injury.
“I forgot that was his first game back,” Ference after a pause when asked to assess Boychuk’s return. “Honestly, I did until you just said it. He got those couple of good practices in, and [the fact that he was returning from injury] didn’t even actually cross my mind.”
Ference laughed and added, “I guess that means he did good.”
Boychuk said he felt comfortable Thursday as he logged 17:58 of ice time without feeling especially limited. He said it’s a case of “so far so good,” and overall he was more pleased with how the defense as a whole played.
“In the first two periods we held them to under 10 shots,” he said. “You can’t say more than that. They’re one of the best offensive teams in the league, so if you limit them to under 10 shots in two periods, it’s obviously a good job by the D men and the forwards.”
Said Claude Julien: “He’s good. He played well and had a couple good shots from the point and I thought he was a real decent player. He didn’t look like a guy that missed any games. I was good with his whole play physically and moving the puck and everything that comes with his game.”
|David Krejci expected to play in Game 2||at 2:19 pm ET|
Bruins center David Krejci did not practice Friday, a day after he was hit in the back with a pane of glass following Chris Kelly‘s game-winning goal in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Krejci said he was not tested for a concussion, and that he will play in Game 2 Saturday despite some neck pain.
“I’ve got a little sore neck, but other than that I’m good and I’ll play tomorrow,” he said.
Krejci, who led all players with 12 goals and 23 points last postseason, was celebrating with his teammates in the Washington zone when the glass fell on him.
“I guess fans got kind of carried away from the Kels goal, and it just happened,” he said. “Glass fell.”
Added Krejci: “I looked, like ‘What happened?’ because I didn’t expect that, so I looked at what happened. Then I got up, skated away, and that’s about it.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the practice that though Krejci was supposed to practice Friday until the pain kept him out, the center is “scheduled to play” Saturday.
Krejci also had stitches on his philtrum as a result from a high stick from Capitals forward Jay Beagle in the first period.
|Adam McQuaid misses practice again||at 2:19 pm ET|
Aside from David Krejci (stiff neck), defenseman Adam McQuaid was the only player missing from Friday’s Bruins practice. He hasn’t skated all week, so it would appear his status for Saturday’s Game 2 against the Capitals would be unlikely.
McQuaid is still dealing with an upper-body injury. He has not played since April 5.