After the first two games of the quarterfinal round, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is sporting a .964 save percentage, having stopped 54 of the 56 shots he has faced. Last season’s Vezina and Conn Smythe winner, Thomas has already had a successful follow-up campaign, earning a 35-19-1 record during the regular season. He is the calm core of Boston’s defense and a reliable presence to backstop the league’s third best offense.

But Thomas’s composure came somewhat unspooled on Saturday night. After a whistle, he punched the previously concussed Nick Backstrom, who ended up scoring the game-winner in double overtime. While Thomas escaped without the match penalty recommended in rule 51.3 for goalies who use a blocker pad to punch a skater, he has not escaped the attention and ire of the Washington Capitals and their fans.

Games Three and Four of the series will be played in DC, and we just figured out precisely how we will troll.

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Boston and the Bruins: Wicked Awful

This is what Swedish revenge looks like. (Photo credit: Mark Baer, US Presswire)

The playoff series gives Caps fans a chance to learn all about our rivals and the exotic places they come from. For the first of their Stanley Cup travelogue series, the PuckBuddys offer “How To Spot A Bruins Fan” and helpfully explain why living in Boston is worse than gargling with cat litter.  

The Geography of Bad: Let’s just put a few things on the table. Some cities are horrible because of where they are. Tampa comes to mind. Not quite poor enough to be swamp trash, not quite rich enough to be coastal, it’s the worst of Florida compressed into one atomically fetid spot. Or take Winnipeg. God help anyone who has to go to Winnipeg.

Other places aren’t so much insufferable because of where they are, but because of who lives there. Philadelphia, for example, where entire generations have refined the art of being over-privileged and grating. Dallas, which is just about all we need to say about that hole. Or pretty much the entire state of Arizona.

That said, there’s a whole special category of wretched for cities that, were the Lord truly merciful, He would just dump into the ocean and pretend it never happened. Can you guess which blighted dung pile is featured in this week’s list of awful?

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In the second period of Game 1, Braden Holtby was whistled for roughing when he shoved Bruins’ forward Chris Kelly out of his crease. It seemed like a pretty tame play for the postseason, but the men in stripes intervened nonetheless.

Well, in the Caps’ Game 2 win against the Bruins, Tim Thomas decided to go medieval on several Capitals. Let’s review, shall we?

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The Big Show: Bruins beat Caps 1-0 (OT)

Photo credit: Brian Babineau

Here we go. The big show. The postseason. First of many between the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals– a tight, violent, and excruciating bout of playoff hockey. There is nothing sweeter.

The Caps endured three punishing  but scoreless periods before someone named Chris Kelly scored the OT winner. Bruins beat Caps 1-0.

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Doubting Thomas

Craig Brownstein of the Puck Buddys gets you primed for Holtby vs Thomas. Follow @PuckBuddys …unless you hate smiles. You don’t hate smiles, do you?

So. Here we are. The Caps’ long, strange trip to the playoffs wasn’t easy, not by any stretch, and their first round opponent doesn’t look so easy either. We know what’s behind us – a roller coaster season of consistent inconsistency, and we know what’s ahead of us – the defending Stanley Cup Champions are big, physical, and chock full of talent. So this probably explains why hockey’s literati almost to the person predicts a Boston win for the series. We don’t put much stock in that, of course. We don’t because we’re homers. Homo homers to be precise.

We look at the Boston match up as a series of If – Then statements: If Ovi, Sasha, and Nicky fire, then we’ll be OK. If we can match them physically, then we don’t get pushed around. If our special teams perform, then we’ll have a real shot. If we put rubber on that creep, Timmy Thomas, get in his head and face, then we’ll score moar goals. If we crash the net, you know the rest. And it’s Timmy and his counterpart at the opposite end of the rink that we think this series revolves around.

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How to Solve Tim Thomas in the Playoffs

Last season, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup with grit, a stiffing defense, and a big weirdo in net by the name of Tim Thomas. Thomas had an incredible 1.98 GAA, .940 Save Percentage, and 4 shutouts in last year’s playoffs. In the Finals, Thomas went into beast mode, giving up only 8 goals in 7 games, giving Boston its first Stanley Cup since 1971-72. Naturally, he was the Playoffs MVP.

Well the Bruins are back to defend their title and are trying to become the first team since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings to win the Cup in back-to-back years. Standing in their way however, will be our 7th-seeded Caps, a rag-tag group of veterans, AHL’ers, and Russians that I’m pretty sure Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury still think are Eurotrash.

Unless he suffers a gruesome injury or chooses to skip out on a game because of an Obama appearance, the Capitals will have to find a way to consistently score on this Tea Partier from Flint, Michigan. And that, for them hasn’t been easy.

Timmay is a career 14-5-3 against Washington, which includes a save percentage north of .920. He’s consistently beaten the Caps in their own barn, winning 7 of 9 career games against them. While Thomas went 1-1-1 against the Capitals this year in 3 starts, he also stopped 82 of 89 Washington shots. He was nearly impenetrable, no matter how much we only want to remember his — um — poor performance in the March 29th shootout.

So on those 7 goals, how have the Caps beaten Thomas? Is there a particular place on the ice that the Caps have had more success shooting?

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Matt Hendricks Embarrasses Tim Thomas in the Shootout

By now we all know Matt Hendricks has Serious Shootout Skills. But the shootout is a gimmick, a sideshow that decides games for no good reason except to entertain fans. The shootout never really meant much… until tonight.

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Bruins beats Caps 4-1, Brooks Laich Injured

The Washington Capitals returned to Verizon Center for a matinee match with the Boston Bruins, their second game in 24 hours. Disaster.

Milan Lucic scored after a bad read by Dennis Wideman gave him an opening. Brad Marchand made it 2-0 after Karl Alzner and John Carlson funneled the puck to their own crease. Marchand set up Tyler Seguin for the game’s third– and the second in which Dennis Wideman lost his man. A gorgeous 200-foot series culminated in a goal by Marcus Johansson (or Ward, whatever) and the end of Tim Thomas’s Sovereign Shutout. Peverly got the empty netter. Bruins beat Caps 4-1.

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Boston Bruins Pregame: Drop the Mitts

Craig Brownstein of Puck Buddys provides this pregamer. All Free Citizens should follow them.

The Pregame: With Doug on IR (day-to-day, lower body – but we won’t say how low), I’ll take a stab at pregaming what could be one of the more critical games on the Caps schedule. And by take a stab, I mean a stabby-stabby and hate-fueled screed. Belittling all things Bay State is one of our favorite indoor sports, but there are so many Boston hFadlines today, we hardly know where to start.

Monday afternoon’s Bruins visit to the White House elicits only groans from us. We all know our Kenyan Marxist president would rather be honoring a Canadian team. As everyone knows, Canadians are generally far more receptive to Obama’s brand of socialism, with their noted embrace of socialized healthcare and flamboyant homosexual hockey fans .

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Tomas Vokoun Washington Capitals

Photo credit: Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

One day after trading Semyon Varlamov to Colorado for a first and second round pick, General Manager George McPhee got the bargain of a lifetime when Tomas Vokoun agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Finally, a veteran goalie talented enough to provide skill and stabilization in net who could help put his team over the top.

“I don’t think we anticipated being this fortunate,” McPhee said.

Spending time with Montreal, Nashville, and the Florida Panthers for the past four seasons hasn’t given Vokoun a chance at winning too often, but could the move to Washington put him in position to win the Vezina trophy, awarded to the league’s best goaltender?

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