Backstrom Nets Winner, Caps Shock Bruins

Goal celebrations don’t normally lead to injury, but as we’ve learned before, anything is possible in the NHL playoffs. After blasting a slap-shot past Washington goaltender Braden Holtby in OT, Chris Kelly sent TD Garden and Bruins nation into a wild frenzy.

During the celebration, front row fans knocked over a loose pane of glass, which came crashing down on number one Bruins center David Krejci. It was a scary incident, one that could of easily caused injury, but as coach Claude Julien stated at practice on Friday, Krejci “dodged a bullet”, suffering only a sore neck from the freak accident.

Krejci, a crucial piece to last year’s playoff run, will be in the lineup today for the Bruins, who hope to apply more pressure and potentially rattle young Caps goaltender Holtby.

Tim Thomas, who carries a playoff shutout streak of 123:44 into today’s game, will once again be in net for the Bruins. Holtby, who was impressive in his first ever career playoff game on Thursday will try to match his previous success today.

The Bruins struggled mightily with the man-advantage on Thursday, failing to score a PP goal while given numerous chances. When asked about the power-play in today’s pre-game press conference, Coach Julien discussed what must change for improvement:

“You know, I thought we did a lot of puck dusting and sending it to the middle quicker, and if we don’t dust the puck as much, if there’s an opportunity, we’ll be able to get our shots through instead of giving them a chance at getting to that shooting lane, and see we work on our puck movement and what we need to do, just like they worked on theirs.”

Just a few minutes into the game, an impressive up-ice rush by Alex Ovechkin drew a penalty to Bruins captain, and stout penalty killer Zdeno Chara. The Bruins PK, with the help of net-minder Thomas, was able to kill off the first Caps power-play, limiting their chances to the outside.

If the Bruins continue to struggle on the man-advantage, the penalty-kill units must play well. Failing to perform on both ends of the special teams spectrum could certainly induce an early exit.

The score was 0-0 after the first; the Bruins outshot the Caps 10-9.

A strong shift by the Bruins second line drew a cross-checking penalty to Roman Hamrlik, giving Boston their second power-play of the game.  On the man-advantage, Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron created a two-on-one in the offensive zone, but Bergeron’s shot skipped just wide of the Washington net, keeping the game scoreless.

You have to like the play of the Bruins fourth line in this game, as they’ve spent a majority of their time on-ice time in the offensive zone. Shawn Thornton, Greg Campbell, and Dan Paille did a terrific job of wearing down the Washington defense, and producing some solid scoring chances as well.

They don’t always come pretty, as the Capitals stuck first late in the second period. With Greg Zanon down in the crease, Troy Brouwer was able to push a loose puck threw Thomas’s legs for the goal. It was smart play by Ovechkin, who recorded an assist on the play, to just throw the puck on net, as sometimes the prettiest of plays aren’t the most effective.

The Capitals took a 1-0 lead into the third period.

The Bruins upped their physical play in the third period, doing everything they could to rattle the Caps and tie the game at one. The second line in particular had some terrific chances in the first ten minutes of the final frame, but failed to put one past Holtby.

Desperation was rewarded as the Bruins third line came up huge again. Brian Rolston threw a puck towards net, and it squirted free to Benoit Pouliot who roofed it past Holtby on the backhand for the goal. The Bruins showed tremendous passion tying this game up with less than 10 minutes to go, bringing TD Garden to its feet in raucous fashion.

The Bruins dominated the first overtime period. While the Capitals did have a few chances, the majority of play was in the Bruins offensive zone, as they threw puck after puck on net in an attempt to end this game. The third line for the Bruins continued to shine, the most impressive trio in the game thus far. The score remained 1-1 after one extra period of play.

Early in the second overtime period, Bergeron won a defensive-zone faceoff, but the puck found its way to Nicklas Backstrom, who was able to roof a wrist shot past Bruins net-minder Thomas. Thomas seemed to have a good view of the puck, but was surprised by the play as typically a successful faceoff draw leads to a strong breakout.

This was a huge victory for the Caps, but the Bruins cannot be discouraged. As we learned last season a little adversity can go a long way for this club, and we’ll see how they handle it Monday night in DC.

From The Room:

Alex Ovechkin

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Patrice Bergeron

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