NOTE: “ECQF” stands for Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
On Sunday, the day after Game 5 in Boston, the Bruins travelled to Washington, D.C. to fight for survival in Game 6. They faced elimination, being down 3-2 in the ECQF series, so they put everything they had into it. They battled hard and were actually the first ones to strike with a goal six minutes into the game, something they haven’t done much in this series and the season in general.
Each time we scored, the Capitals answered to tie it. Near the end of the game, we were up 3-2 with only five minutes left, but they were able to score off of a faceoff in our end. So the game went to overtime. Three minutes into it, we had a great sequence. It started with David Krejci making a great steal in the neutral zone, then giving a nice pass to Milan Lucic rushing in. Then Lucic gave a great pass across to Tyler Seguin. Seguin rushes to the net, holds, holds, fakes a shots, holds, gets Capitals goalie Braden Holtby to commit and dive out, then scores the game-winning goal on the open net.
It was great to see these guys step up as they are some of our top players, but have been under-performing. Seguin was the Bruins’ leading scorer in the regular season with 29 goals, yet he had no points at all in the series so far. In this game, though, he got into his rhythm and made some great plays like a steal, an assist, and the game-winning goal.
So, the Bruins and Capitals go to Game 7 to decide who will move on to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. If you’ve paid attention to the other matchups in the playoffs, you know that this year has been very surprising. The 2008 champions (Detroit Red Wings), the 2009 champions (Pittsburgh Penguins), and the 2010 champions (Chicago Blackhawks) have all been eliminated in the first round.. as well as the other team besides us that was in last year’s Stanley Cup Finals and the President’s Trophy winners for the second consecutive year, the Canucks. In this game, the defending 2011 champions, the Bruins, faced elimination too, but prevented it. What’s more, the teams that took those top ones out were ones that nobody thought could be real contenders in the playoffs.. for some of them, this was the first time they’ve ever made it past the first round.
So, as a Bruins fan, you may be worried with the way things have gone around the league.. but fear not! We have a lot going for us. First, the Capitals just aren’t as good as the Bruins.. that’s just fact. They have a few stars and a bunch of roster-filler. On the other hand, the Bruins have a full team of players who all make contributions. Second, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is starting to wear down, and is no match for Tim Thomas. We’ve gotten in his head now and he’s lost some confidence. Also, Holtby has never been the goalie to win a playoff series in any league he’s played in. Lastly, take a look at how both of these teams have done in these situations. In the Capitals’ last four Game 7’s, they’re only 1-3, with that one win coming in the first round against the Rangers last year. The Bruins, however, have done much better. In their last three Game 7’s (all last year), they are 3-0, and in the last five playoff games that they could’ve been eliminated, they’re 5-0! Plus, just think back to last year’s first round. The Canadiens gave us much more trouble then we had expected, as the Capitals have, but we still won in Game 7. So think positive thoughts, Bruins fans, because as I’ve explained, there’s no reason not to.. 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…
-Peverley takes the opening faceoff instead of Bergeron, who won’t take any faceoffs this game because of an upper body injury near the end of last game.
-45 secs in, Bergeron rushed in and took a nice shot.
-Soon after, Seguin skates around some defenders and gets a nice chance.
-2.5 mins in, Campbell takes the puck in their end and gets a good shot off.
-4 mins in, we get a great scoring chance, then it goes the other way and Thomas makes a nice save.
-Soon after we get an offensive stand and Mottau gets a good chance with a shot that deflects a couple of times, then trickles wide of the net.
-5 mins in, Pouliot makes a nice steal leading to a nice chance.
-Soon after, we get a good offensive stand with a nice shot by Zanon.
-Then, 6 mins in, Peverley wins the faceoff in their end to Bergeron, to Ference at the blue line.. shoots, Peverley deflects.. we score!!
-8 mins in, Boychuk makes a great defensive play, diving to stop a cross-ice pass during a Capitals 2-on-1 rush.
-Then Ovechkin puts a pretty dirty his on Seidenberg.. so Chara gives one back to him.
-Almost halfway through, Mike Green shoots, it deflects of Zanon’s leg and goes in to tie the game.
-Then Bergeron gets a tripping penalty.
-On the penalty kill, we defend well and keep them from getting a shot for the first 1:40, then Thomas made a nice save. We kill it off.
-12 mins in, Hendricks tries a wrap-around shot, Thomas stops it, but him and Beagle keep jamming at it, so Thomas takes matters into his own hands and pushes them away like a linesman in football.
-13 mins in, Chimera gets a hooking penalty.
-On the power play, we start with an offensive stand. 3o secs in, Peverley gives a quick pass to Lucic right in front of the net for a great chance. About a minute in, Lucic with a nice pass to Bergeron for a great shot. We end it with a couple more good shots.
-16 mins in, Semin gets a hooking penalty.
-On the power play, we start with an offensive stand and some nice shots. About 45 seconds in, we get a nice rush, Krejci carries it in, passes to Lucic, he shoots, Krejci deflects it in to give us the lead!
-Then Kelly gets a penalty for holding the stick.
-On the penalty kill, we defend well, keeping them from getting setup in our end for the first minute. Then Thomas makes a nice save on Ovechkin. He makes some more good saves and we kill off the penalty with him denying some huge chances for the Capitals.
-The period ends 2-1 Bruins.
-Shots on goal were 11-10 in favor of the Bruins, we also out-hit them 22-14. The Capitals led scoring chances 12-9.
-2 mins in, Thomas makes a huge save on Ovechkin, who then gets a high-sticking penalty for hitting Chara in the face and making him bleed really badly. You could see Ovechkin mouth the words “fuck me!” We need Chara, but players aren’t allowed on the ice with flowing blood from a cut.
-On the power play, we start off with a stand in their end, then the Capitals get a 2-on-1 rush and Thomas makes a big save. Then we get some good offense and nice shots, but they kill it off.
-In the next few minutes we get some more good offense and some great chances.
-Just past the halfway point, Thomas makes a big save on a deflected shot, then a scrum starts.. it’s starting to get nasty.
-11 mins in, Thomas makes a huge diving stick save on Johansson.
-A minute later, Thomas makes another big save.
-Then we get a nice offensive stand and Caron gets a nice chance right in front of the net.
-Then Chara takes a shots that deflects off of Kelly’s back in front, who then gets cross-checked even though the puck was already away from them.. no call.
-Then Bergeron gets a high-sticking penalty, but it’s a delayed call and before we can touch the puck for the call to be made, the Capitals get a penalty for too many men on the ice to cancel it out.. but then they take it back so it’s just a penalty on us.
-On the penalty kill, we keep them from getting setup for the first minute. Then they rush in and miss an opportunity. Then Thomas makes a few nice saves. We kill it off.
-With a minute left, Chimera put a big hit on Marchand, leaving him on the ground, nose bleeding, then the Capitals get a break and Chimera scores.
-Then off the next faceoff, Pouliot and Brouwer get penalties. It goes to 4-on-4.
-Then Hendricks gets a penalty for tripping Peverley rushing into their end. It goes to a 4-on-3 power play for the Bruins.
-On the power play, we do some good offensive work to finish the period.
-It ends tied 2-2.
-In this period, the Capitals out-shot the Bruins 15-5 and lead the totals 25-16.
-It starts with us finishing the 4-on-3 power play.. Rolston gets a nice shot.. then Chara.. then some great work to keep it in their end.. Rolston gets a couple more shots. They kill that penalty off, then the rest of the other one.
-3 mins in, Campbell redirects a shot from Zanon for a great chance that almost went in.
-In the next few minutes there’s lots of back-and-forth, but we get some great chances.
-9 mins in, Pouliot gets a penalty for checking Laich, but letting his hands hit his head.
-On the penalty kill, we defend well and Thomas makes some big saves. It ends with a Bruins rush and faceoff in their end to kill it off.
-12 mins in, Seguin rushes in and shoots, it bounces off of Holtby’s face-mask.. Ference scores off the rebound! Seguin later said he was aiming for Holtby’s head to make sure there would be a rebound.
-15 mins in, Peverley loses a faceoff in our end (usually would be Bergeron winning).. it gets to Ovechkin.. he scores to tie it at 3-3.
-A minute later, we get a good chance, then Thomas makes a big save on Ovechkin.
-In the next few minutes, it’s all back-and-forth.
-With a minute left, Bergeron has to take his first faceoff of the game as it’s a very important one in our end.. he wins it and we clear the zone.
-The period ends tied 3-3 and they go to sudden death overtime.
-In this period, the Capitals out-shot the Bruins 13-12 and lead the totals 38-28.
-To start, Marchand rushes in and gets a nice shot.
-Soon after, Chara brings the puck in and brings Holtby way out of his net and had a good chance, but Holtby poked the puck away.
-Then Marchand takes a shot, Bergeron tips it and it goes off of the crossbar.
-3 minutes in, Krejci makes a steal in the neutral zone, gets the puck to Lucic, he centers it to Seguin rushing in.. he fakes a shot, getting Holtby to commit, then shoots and scores to win the game and force a Game 7 in Boston. This was his first playoff goal this year.
Final Thoughts / Notes
-Patrice Bergeron had an “upper body” injury in the 3rd period of last game. Because of this, he did not take any faceoffs.. and he’s one of the best at them in the league. He actually did take one faceoff as it was a very important one to win, being in our end and near the end of the game.
-Shawn Thornton did not play this game. Mike Mottau came in, as well as Jordan Caron for his first NHL playoff game. They say it’s likely that Caron will play in Thornton’s place in Game 7. Tuukka Rask is also back as the backup goalie.
-Tim Thomas made 36 saves, some of them amazing. He has let some soft goals by him, but even if you think he has been shaky, you have to look at our first round series against the Canadiens last year.. it went the same way for the team and for Thomas, but then in Game 7 and the rest of the playoffs, he really found his game.
-Braden Holtby has never been the goalie to win a playoff series.. in any league.
-The Bruins and Capitals became the first teams ever to have a playoff series in which six straight games were won by only one goal. Furthermore, in the 387 minutes and 31 seconds that they’ve played so far, there were only 2 minutes and 54 seconds in which one of the teams had a lead by more than one goal.
-Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand each had 4 points in Game 7’s last year.
Around the League
As I said at the top, the 2008, 2009, and 2010 champions (Red Wings, Penguins, Blackhawks respectively) have all been eliminated, as well as the other team besides the Bruins to make it to last year’s Stanley Cup Finals, the Canucks, who are also the President’s trophy winners for the second consecutive year (given to the team with the most points at the end of the regular season). The defending 2011 champions, the Bruins, faced elimination in Game 6 but survived to force a Game 7. The Rangers, who were the top team in the Eastern Conference, and only two points behind the Canucks, also faced elimination in their Game 6, but forced a Game 7 as well. It’s not only crazy that these great teams have been taken out, but that the teams moving on are ones that have never been thought of as real contenders in the playoffs. Some of them have never even made it out of the first round. Here’s how the playoff bracket looks currently:
You can stay updated on the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs here:
Videos / Links
Here’s a video of Tyler Seguin with some nice moves and a good scoring chance:
Here’s a video of Rich Peverley’s goal:
Here’s a video of David Krejci’s power play goal:
Here’s a video of Alex Ovechkin high-sticking and cutting Zdeno Chara:
Here’s a video of Tim Thomas robbing Marcus Johansson:
Here’s a video of Andrew Ference’s goal:
Here’s a video of Tyler Seguin’s game-winning overtime goal:
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,