Friday, April 13, 2012
Conference Quarterfinals, 17,565 Garden denizens were feeling a bit skittish
that their Bruins weren't able to knock off the talented but underdog
Capitals despite vastly outshooting them. Rookie goalie Braden Holtby wasn't
fazed in the least. Despite the superb team D, the Bs were still just one
shot from being down 0-1. And now, given that this is the NHL Playoffs, it
looked like the Garden might be having the same closing time as the many
bars in the Bulfinch Triangle.
That is until Chris Kelly essentially yelled "You don't have to go home but
you can't stay here!" by whistling an absolute bomb past Holtby's far side
just 3:12 into the first and only extra session to put the Bs up 1-0 in the
series. Benoit Pouliot sent a sweet feed to a streaking Kelly on the left
wing who got behind, who else?, Dennis Wideman. Even though Holtby came way
to out to challenge Kelly, the laser found a seam and blew right by him. If
nothing else, the young netminder and his teammates served notice to the
defending champs: you're going to have to earn everything.
Conversely, the Caps are going to have to earn everything against a much
tougher D. It took them more than five minutes to get their first shot and
were outshot 26-7 after two periods. The Bs did a phenomenal job of keeping
the Caps to the outside and limiting their chances. Alexander Ovechkin was
held to just one shot on net, though it was nearly the eventual game-winner.
But Thomas looked like the Thomas of last year and made the save of the
night to keep it scoreless. Additionally, Thomas made several big saves in
the third when the Caps finally started to get some quality chances.
Also looking like something from last year? The power play, which went 0/4
and really didn't generate too many chances (unless they're just saving it
for the SCF again). Yeah, it's only one game but this team has too much
talent to not have an effective PP. If things aren't working, change them
up. And maybe have Tyler Seguin on PP1 by the left half-wall. More than once
last night, the kid made something out of nothing even if it didn't result
in a goal.
But overall, it was a great night at the barn. The score doesn't matter this
time of year---just the win. And the Bs grabbed the often-important Game 1.
They'll look to double up tomorrow at 3.
As noted by El Pres earlier, the Bs have a new post-win tradition in the
playoffs. After having retired the ugly Chalk Line jacket of last season
(can we please stop calling it a Starter jacket? Thing didn't even look like
a Starter jacket), the team is now issuing the Jam Master Jay Houdini bling
to the team-voted player of the game. It's a 20 link chain (one for each
player, no weak link) with an old-fashioned lock serving as the charm.
David Krejci missed practice today after hurting his neck as a result of the fluky accident where the glass fell on him during the post-game celebration. However, I've been told he'll definitely playing tomorrow.