Har har. Bruins fan taunts Ribs. (Photo credit: Emily C.)
The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins have developed an intense rivalry since their back-and-forth seven-game series in the first round of the playoffs last year. From the Olympic-quality dives from Brad Marchand to Nicky Backstrom’s cross-check to the face, it’s apparent these teams hate each other.
That’s why on Saturday, as they played each other for the second time in 16 days, all hell broke loose. First, Mike Ribeiro fought Brad Marchand, and Matt Hendricks laid down the law with Nathan Horton. Then, in the third period, as Shawn Thornton tried to get Hendricks to drop the gloves, Hendy bloodied his fists in a fight with Adam McQuaid.
Let’s recap all the crazy.
Photo credit: Brian Babineau
The Boston Bruins are the best team in the East. I think they’re the East’s best chance at winning the Cup this year, but that doesn’t mean I’m rooting for them or that I didn’t want the Washington Capitals to crush them on Saturday afternoon. That didn’t happen though. The Caps struggled on defense, and their offense needed help to get the puck behind Anton Khudobin. The game got a little wild in the second and third periods, which is just how the Bruins like it.
Bruins beat Caps 4-1.
The Morning Skate: Gentle readers, before we [CENSORED] all over our Bruins friends, let us pause a moment, as you scramble in blind panic preparing for snow that will never, ever come again, to consider the hazards of making predictions. Especially about the Caps.
For example, if I predict no snow Wednesday, it’s gonna get all crazy 20″ up in here. Conversely, I stone cold guarantee that if I dash to the store today to buy a terror shovel, we will be mopping our brows and sipping Mint Juleps on our verandas by Friday. The point is: predictions can go so wrong. Britain’s Lord Kelvin (he of Downton Abbey, we guess?) said heavier-than-air machines could never fly. Harry Warner said no-one would pay for talkies. The Skipper predicted a three-hour tour. Boom.
Welp, the Washington Capitals got knocked out of the playoffs again, and we’re totally exasperated. Here’s the part of the year where we wonder what went wrong.
Here’s also the part where the scoundrels will try to wrest away the discussion from right-thinking individuals. Before the loudmouths start throwing around sweeping generalizations and platitudes, I’m going to try to get some actual, objective information out there.
What follows is a breakdown of how the Capitals postseason went down– strictly by the numbers.
Photo credit: Brian Babineau
While Braden Holtby and Joel Ward will be receiving all the attention after last night’s Game Seven victory, it was Karl Alzner who may have made the most clutch play of the game.
Thirty-five seconds into overtime, an energetic Bruins team camped out in the Capitals offensive zone and looked to end the game early on their first shift. As Dennis Seidenberg blasted a shot from the point, Braden Holtby stopped the puck with his right pad. However, a rebound squirted loose and landed right onto Patrice Bergeron‘s stick.
That’s when Alzner — a two-time WJC gold medal winner with Team Canada (and its captain) — cooly and calmly dove to the ice and got a piece of Bergeron’s shot with his stick. Video is below.
Photo credit: Brian Babineau
Joel Ward was a playoff hero for Nashville last year, leading the league in postseason goals at one point in the first round and ending with better than a point per game.
That grit and clutch goal-scoring was why General Manager George McPhee outbid a number of other teams to sign Ward in the summer to an expensive 4-year, $12 million contract.
In the regular season, however, things didn’t go as planned. Ward was benched one game for missing a meeting, scratched several games for poor play, and managed to tally just six goals. It was the worst offensive season of his career– though he spent most of it assigned as a fourth liner.
But Joel Ward’s play in the regular season isn’t what got him glory in Nashville. And it’s not what just put him in Capitals’ record books forever.
Photo credit: Elsa
Game Seven. You know the deal.
Jason Chimera dropped the puck to John Carlson, who fired a shot that Matt Hendricks tipped in. Tyler Seguin dove to knock in a loose puck behind Braden Holtby to tie the game heading into the third period. The game went into overtime.
And then it happened. You knew it would. Mike Knuble crashed the net and Joel Ward swept in the rebound. Caps beat Bruins 2-1 (OT).
Holtby’s not impressed.
Before the series started, the Bruins talked a tough game about getting in Braden Holtby‘s face and making life difficult for him. Like many players before them, they soon learned that was easier said than done. With the score tied at 1-1 at the end of a tense second period, Rich Peverley got a little too close to Holtby and Holtby let him know by shoving him off his skates. Peverely retaliated — or at least, pretended to, taking a two-handed slash at Holtby that he stopped just short, clearly trying to spook or scare him.
Video is below the jump.
The Washington Capitals are 2-7 all-time in Game Sevens. They’re 0-1 all-time in Game Sevens on the road, 1-2 all-time in Game Seven OT, and none of that matters at all, because all we need them to be is 1-0 in Game Sevens on April 25, 2012, versus the Boston Bruins.
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