Crash the net! (Photo credit: Brian Babineau)
The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins had split wins in each other’s cities. Saturday afternoon’s bout in Boston was the first of two games within 30 hours, and another example of how tight this series has been.
After a scoreless first, Alex Semin wristed the puck past Tim Thomas while Joe Corvo writhed in pain in the periphery. Jay Beagle sent a loose puck dribbling past Thomas to make it 2-0– the first time either team has had a two-goal lead all series. Dennis Seidenberg got some space from Ovechkin and beat Holtby near-side to get the Bruins on the scoreboard. Just a few seconds later, Marchand (with help from Peverley) pushed the puck through Holtby’s five-hole and tied the game.
And then…. in the third period…
Yes. Mike Knuble crashed the net to make it 3-2 for the Capitals. Johnny Boychuk tied it up while Dennis Wideman was in the penalty box. On the Brouwer Play, Troy Brouwer scored a brouwer play goal, his first brouwer play goal and the game-winner. Caps beat Bruins 4-3.
- Braden Holtby is mortal. We all knew this, right? Those two goals he surrendered within half a minute were the product of bad defense (Ovechkin getting smoked in neutral, Erskine and Wideman not clearing the crease), but Holtby still should’ve stopped either or both. It’s the playoffs, and we expect the world. We expect him always to do stuff like that full-split toe stop on Tyler Seguin in the third period that had gentlemen across the continent going “Eeeesh!”
- John Carlson was penalized for running Tim Thomas in the first period, despite his being flanked by three Bruins guiding his way in. Here’s a quick lesson in physics: Inertia says things in motion stay in motion; ice has a very low frictional coefficient; and momentum is shared among connected bodies. The Bruins didn’t have to extend their arms to push Carlson into Thomas, they just had to be there, moving steady.
- Blocker punch from Thomas on Carlson in case you’re keeping track.
- Jay Beagle! Scoring goals, blocking shots, killing penalties, writing in diaries, doing outdoorsy things on off-days!
- Alex Ovechkin had no patience for Zdeno Chara‘s post-whistle nonsense, which is to say he had all the patience in the world. When Chara got dirty with his stick, Ovechkin did not retaliate. Boom: power play. Meanwhile, Chara tried to cream Jason Chimera into the glass at the end of the first period, but only got the wind knocked out of him instead.
- We don’t root for players to get hurt. Ever. But losing Joe Corvo is like losing weight. Get well soon, Joe!
- We’ve called Alex Semin some variation of “vanished” for the past few postseasons. He’s got goals in three straight games. We’re shutting up now. His tally on Saturday was the result of being tough in the crease. Just for clarity: we’re talking about Alex Semin, number 28, being tough in the crease.
- The two-goal lead: the Capitals have seen them disappear all season. It happened again in a blink today as the Bruins converted on consecutive shifts. Dennis Wideman, playoff goat, was on-ice for both of those goals and gave the Bruins a big power play in the third. He’s been on for 7 of the 9 Bruins’ goals this series, and all of their goals at even strength. If he plays Game Six, it’s on the coaches.
- Johnny Boychuk‘s power play goal was the first such the Caps have given up this series.
- Patrice Bergeron missed a good portion of the game after absorbing a big hit from Alex Ovechkin. He stayed on the bench, but missed shifts. Add Corvo’s injury to that, and Claude Julien was working with a depleted lineup. Bergeron returned late in the third.
- Give Mike Knuble ice time in the offensive zone and he will crash the net. Crash the net enough and he will score. These are Dependable Things that everyone should know.
- So many bullets today.
Series record: Capitals 3, Bruins 2
One small note: without getting to say goodbye, we’ve already see our last CSN broadcast of the year. There were whispers of Sunday’s broadcast getting on the station, but that didn’t happen. Thank you to Joe Beninati and his phalanx of suits. Thank you to Craig Laughlin and his hockey smarts and weird accent. If you go right now, you can check out their post-game on CSN.
The difference maker, again, is special teams. The Capitals’ penalty kill is nigh-perfect, and they’re the only team in this series getting plural goals with a man-up.
Tim Thomas, rebound factory, didn’t have the wherewithal to shut down an egalitarian Capitals offense. When goals come from guys like Beagle and Brouwer and Knuble, the opponent really has to dig deep. The Bruins couldn’t do that, and now they stand on the verge of elimination.
Sunday’s game is early. 3PM back in DC. Fans, the challenge has been issued: bring it like it’s never been broughten before.
We’re gonna prove the hockey pundits wrong.