Tonight marked the beginning of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Boston Bruins as they took on the Washington Capitals at the TD Garden at 7:30pm EST. The first period proved to be a test if you will, with each team feeling each other out. The physicality was clearly evident with Seidenberg and Chara unleashing on Ovechkin numerous times and Jay Beagle going to the box for a double minor for high sticking against David Krejci. However, despite efforts by Pouliot and the Bergeron line, the score stayed at zero through the first twenty minutes of play. They would start the second period with a man advantage for just over two minutes of play.
“We have to be better holding onto the puck down low..We did a good job playing the body and Z did a good job stepping up on Ovechkin and we have to keep doing that and take their time and space away.” –Dennis Seidenberg (via Intermission Report with Naoko Funayama)
At the start of the second period you could already sense the change in atmosphere as the Bruins came out roaring from the locker room. The intensity increased and through the first twelve minutes of play the Bruins managed to hold the Capitals to ZERO shots on goal, providing themselves with ten. The Bruins peppered first-timer Holtby with shots and to give credit where it is due, he made a spectacular save on Daniel Paille off of a pass from Patrice Bergeron midway through the period. Tempers began to flare after that with David Krejci having a run in with Holtby after a Carlson cross-check, creating a scrum behind the Caps net with both Krejci and Carlson getting two for roughing. The first four on four opportunity of the night. One of the best plays of the period would come from this advantage as Chris Kelly gets the interception in the neutral zone to Pouliot and then as Kelly crashes the net, Holtby pushes Kelly down and provides the Bruins with a four on three opportunity for a minute and a half. You’re wondering if the Bruins capitalized here, right? Well, the answer to that question is…no. They had a great set up going, but were unable to light the lamp. In order to get ahead they needed to crash the net and bang in the rebounds. There were way too many pucks free right in front of the net.
After forty minutes of play the score remained at 0-0 with the Bruins holding the edge in shots on goal with 26-7, only two of those shots from this period for the Caps. Star forward Alex Ovechkin shares absolutely none of those attempts, he failed to register a single shot on net, or even possess the puck for more than 3-4 seconds the entire period.
“We need to get the shots from the outside and try to get the rebounds. . . We feel alright were playing okay, anything can happen in a game like this…We have to put in our best effort.” –Brad Marchand (via Intermission Report with Naoko Funayama)
Through sixty minutes of play the Bruins and Capitals remained scoreless. Forwards Benoit Pouliot and Chris Kelly had a GOLDEN opportunity, unfortunately the puck had a lucky bounce and skirted between Pou’s legs. Capitals got lucky on that one. With just a minute and one second remaining Milan Lucic raced up the right hand side of the ice, looked over his shoulder to Krejci but was unable to connect the pass to muster a shot. Through the final twenty the Bruins had spurts of energy, but the Capitals held the advantage in the offensive zone, providing a tied score at the end of regulation of zero.
“We’ve got to keep shooting and crash the net…I think we’ve got to keep going defensively and we will get our chance.” –David Krejci (via Intermission Report with Naoko Funayama)
One minute and eighteen seconds into the extra period, sudden death Johansen takes a stab at Thomas, Kelly gets the rebound, takes it in and snaps one past the Caps goaltender, low glove side. Bruins take a series lead 1-0!!!! In celebration the Bruins busted plexi-glass, a very well fought game. Congratulations Bruins, we’ll see you Saturday!