NOTE: “ECQF” stands for Eastern Conference Quarter-finals
Monday night the Bruins and Capitals went to battle in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarter-final series. With only four goals scored in the first 144 minutes of the series, both teams were frustrated and ready to go all out. It was indeed a battle with lots of hits and scrums, as well as constant back-and-forth play. The Capitals struck first with a goal near the end of the first period. However, they didn’t hold their 1-0 lead for long as we came back to tie it just 35 seconds into the second period with a goal from Rich Peverley. A prime example of the back-and-forth play followed as Alex Ovechkin scored a goal just 13 seconds later to but the back on top 2-1. At this point, I was starting to feel a bit nervous, but I told myself not to worry as the game wasn’t even half over yet. About nine minutes later, Greg Zanon took a shot that their goalie, Braden Holtby, couldn’t control.. Daniel Paille was right in front of him and took the puck, pulled it around Holtby and scored to tie it once again. After that, we stepped it up and were winning battles, hustling, getting more physical, and playing well. After that goal, the Bruins really stepped it up. They were winning battles, hustling, getting physical and playing smart by putting traffic in front of their net. It remained 2-2 through the end of the period. Then, a minute into the third period, Brian Rolston tapped in a lose puck to put us ahead 3-2. We held the lead until with six minutes left, the Capitals caught us off guard, got a breakaway and scored to tie it at 3-3. At this point I was thinking “great, another long-ass, nail-biting overtime game.” But with only two minutes left, Zdeno Chara scores with a one-timer to give us the lead. After that, we defended well and maintained our lead to win the game 4-3.
Before this game, I had confidence in the Bruins, but I was also pretending that I wasn’t a little bit worried since the series had been so close and low-scoring. Well this game should make all Bruins fans feel much more optimistic. They played a great game, more so in the second half. Part of them picking up their game was frustrating the crap out of the Capitals, mostly by beating the crap out of them. Before, the two teams’ physical games sort of canceled each other out, but now, we’re starting to dominate. Ovechkin and the few on their crew that try to match us just can’t keep up, and they’re falling further behind as they get more and more worn down. We out-hit them 58-36 in this game, and 134-106 in the series so far.
Coach Claude Julien helped turn around the Bruins too with some changes to the lines. Patrice Bergeron moved up to the first line sending David Krejci to the line with Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. Also, Seguin only got less than 14 minutes of ice time because Julien was sending him a message that he needs to step up his production (and stop skating into multiple defenders by himself, usually resulting in a turnover). Julien’s changes worked well, as they always do.
Another way that the Bruins’ game improved was by playing smart offense and going for the higher-chance shots, rather than just shooting any time they could as they had been. This mainly means taking shots while there’s lots of traffic in front of the net so that the Capitals’ goalie, Braden Holtby, has trouble seeing them and so that we can capitalize on rebounds. They need to keep this up as it worked really well. This is mainly because Holtby’s biggest weakness (besides lack of experience) is that he has trouble controlling and coralling the puck.
So, if we can keep up what we did in this game, we’ll likely win the series. Another thing that will help us is the discipline that has been given to one of the Capitals’ stars, Nicklas Backstrom. After the game had ended, there was a bit of a scrum and it ended with Backstrom cross-checking Rich Peverley in the face. This was the third time that night that he cross-checked one of the Bruins. So, he got a match penalty, which comes with an automatic suspension for one game. Without him in Game 4, the Capitals’ offense will definitely be hurting. This should make it easier for us to win, which would put us in position to win the series at home in Game 5. Things are looking good for Boston, so get pumped Bruins fans, and remember…
This section is where I put my notes from the game, with the plays that I felt were worth highlighting and/or ranting about. This is basically my version of a game recap, intended for those who would like to read one that tells more than just what happened on paper. So, if you just want a summarization and my thoughts on what the game means for the Bruins, just read the section above and the “Final Thoughts/Notes” section near the bottom, then check out the videos and links that follow…
-It’s crazy right from the start with facst action and big hits.
-A min in, we get a power play. We get some good chances but they kill it off.
-Lots of back and forth for the next few minutes.
-9 mins in, Paille was driving to the net and Holtby threw his stick out towards the puck and in Paille’s path.. should be a penalty shot.. but no. The Capitals’ Mike Green also made a dumb move and almost shot it in his own net. (see the video here)
-30 seconds later, Hamrlik took a shot on a puck that he knew was already out of the zone and therefore offsides.. but no penalty.
-Halfway through we get a nice offensive stand with a shot that almost bounces in.
-12 mins in, we get a 2-on-1.. Holtby robs Lucic. (see the video here)
-15.5 mins in, Chara gets a roughing penalty. Thomas makes a big save on Semin.. then soon after he scores on a screened shot.
-2 mins later, Aucoin get a tripping penalty.
-On the power play, we get some good chances, but they kill it off.
-We finish the period with a nice offensive stand.
-Then with one second left, they do a faceoff, then a scrum starts.
-The period ends 1-0 Capitals.
-It starts with a penalty to each team for the scrum at the end of the last period.
-Half a minute in, Peverley skates it in, shoots it high glove side.. Holtby gets a piece of it but it goes through and he scores his 5th career playoff goal. (see the video below)
-13 seconds later, the Capitals lob the puck out of their zone.. Ovechkin gets a break.. he scores. The shot may have deflected off of Seidenberg’s stick.
-In the nest few minutes, we get some good chances.
-5 minutes in, Peverley gets a hooking penalty as Semin takes a dive.. Peverley just tapped his stick against Semin’s stomach and he dove to the ground to sell it.
-On the penalty kill: it starts with a nice save by Thomas with lots of traffic in front. Almost a minute in, Seidenberg makes a huge effort to clear the puck out of the zone while falling of Backstrom’s leg.. they call tripping on Backstrom as a make-up call for the previous bullshit call. It goes to 4-on-4.. Right after, Krejci passes to Pouliot in front of their goal for a great chance. Then they kill off our power play.
-Almost halfway through, Zanon shoots the puck on net.. Paille corals it put of the air, dekes the puck around Holtby and gets his 4th career playoff goal! (see the video below)
-13 mins in, Lucic and Laich shove each other as they wait for a faceoff.. Lucic throws him on the ground.. they both get penalties. It goes to 4-on-4.. The Capitals get most of the offense during it and Thomas makes some nice saves.
-17 mins in, Peverley makes a nice steal in their zone leading to a good chance.
-Then soon after, Thomas makes a huge save to rob Beagle at point-blank range. (see the video below)
-19 mins in, we get a good chance, then going the other way, Thomas makes a nice save, then we put a nice hit on Laich followed by ending the period with another good chance.
-The period ends tied 2-2.
-We pretty much controlled the period and the Capitals started to look tired.
-A minute in, we get a good offensive stand with a bunch of good chances, then Rolston scores with a tip off of Kelly’s shot to give the Bruins their first lead of the series. This was Rolston’s 20th career playoff goal. (see the video below)
-Right after, two Capitals players hit Thornton up high.. should be penalty.. no call.
-3 mins in, Thomas makes a nice save on a deflectino.. then a scrum starts and Chimera hits Marchand in the nuts with his stick like a bitch.. he gets a slashing penalty.
-On the power play: Lucic rushes in and takes a nice shot.. Holtby gets a piece of it but it dribbles past him and almost goes in. Then they kill the rest of it off.
-8 mins in, Hendricks hits Chara in the face with his stick as he rolls off of hitting him.. Chara skates off the ice a bit disoriented. Then we put a big hit on Wideman.
-No call on Hendricks, but before Seidenberg even made contact with their guy, the refs had their arm up to call a high-sticking penalty on him.. they later change it to roughing.
-On the penalty kill: the Capitals get some good chances, but Thomas makes some nice saves. Then we keep them from setting up and we kill it off.
-14 mins in, Laich gets a breakaway and scores.
-17 mins in, Backstrom gets a penalty for cross-checking Marchand. On the power play: we get some good offense and some nice chances. Then a scrum starts between Lucic and Hendricks.. then Alzner comes and grabs Lucic from behind and starts hitting him like a bitch.. totally against hockey fighting etiquette.. Lucic, Hendricks, and Alzner get penalties.. but of course they give Lucic a double minor so we don’t have a power play.. instead it goes to 4-on-4. (see the video below)
-On the 4-on-4, 18 mins in, we get a nice offensive stand.. Bergeron makes a nice pass across the blue line to Chara for a one-timer.. he scores! (see the video below)
-The 4-on-4 ends and it goes to a Capitals power play with just over a minute left.. They pull their goalie to get a 6-on-4 defacto power play.. we defend well and Thomas makes a big save with 25 seconds left. Lucic’s penalty ends, so it goes to 6-on-5 with a faceoff in our zone. We defend and kill the remaining time.. As time expires, a scrum starts because Ovechkin came in for a big yet unnessasary hit on Peverley when there were only seconds left and it didn’t matter. Ovechkin then put his stick between Peverley’s legs and lifted it hard to hit him in the nuts.. again, Capitals? Really? In retaliation, Peverley tripped Ovechkin as he tried to skate away. Then Backstrom came over and did nasty cross-check to Peverley’s face once time had expired, so he faces suspension as he received a match penalty. The rules say he should be automatically suspended until the league reviews it.
[UPDATE] Backstrom was suspended for Game 4. (see the video below)
-The Bruins win 4-3.. in regulation!
Final Thoughts / Notes
-Adam McQuaid did not travel with the team to Washington as he is still recovering from his “upper body” injury.
-Tuukka Rask travelled with the team but did not dress as he’s not quite ready, but close.
-It was 90° in Washington during the day and there were serious issues with the ice.
-The Bruins have now won six consecutive away game (including some of the last few games of the regular season).
-Tim Thomas had 29 saves. He turned 38 on Sunday. Braden Holtby is 22.
The playoffs continue to be crazy, brutal, and surprising for all of the series. While there were seven suspension in last year’s playoffs overall, there have already been eight this year! Here’s how the playoff bracket looks currently:
You can stay updated on the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs here:
Here’s a video of NBC’s preview of the game (and Blues/Sharks Game 3):
Here’s a video of Rich Peverley’s goal:
Here’s a video of Daniel Paille’s goal:
Here’s a video of Tim Thomas’ big, point-blank save on Jay Beagle:
Here’s a video of Brian Rolston’s goal:
Here’s a video of Jason Chimera jabbing Brad Marchand’s nuts with his stick:
Here’s another, clearer angle on Chimera hitting Marchand in the nuts:
Here’s a video of Karl Alzner being a bitch and attacking Lucic from behind while he was already fighting Matt Hendricks:
Here’s a video of Zdeno Chara’s goal:
Here’s a video of Nicklas Backstrom being a bitch and cross-checking Rich Peverly in the face (also shows the rest of the scrum from the end of the game):
Here’s a video recap of the goals and big saves from the game:
Here’s an extended video recap of the game (in HD):
Here’s the NHL’s video recap of the game:
Here’s the NHL’s page of video clips of the goals and some saves and hits:
Here’s the NHL’s photos from the game:
Thanks for reading,