The Washington Capitals rebounded from Thursday night’s game one defeat, downing the Bruins 2-1 in double overtime. The critical win on unfriendly ice held more of the same flawless play by Braden Holtby and defensive dedication but featured a far more concerted offensive attack.
After a scoreless first period, and much of a scoreless second, the Capitals seemingly willed their way onto the board. With just over two minutes remaining in the second period, Troy Brower took advantage of a loose puck in front of Boston’s Tim Thomas, muscling his way to the goal mouth, and putting it under Thomas’ leg to give Washington the 1-0 lead. The goal was Brouwer’s first of the playoffs (assists: Alex Ovechkin, Karl Alzner).
The Caps, however, would not be able to close the Bruins out in regulation. At 12:13 of the third period, Boston’s Brian Rolston took an innocent looking wrist shot the deflected off of Jeff Shultz’s skate and directly into the slot. As if frozen by the moment, Shultz failed to pick up the hard charging Benoit Bouliot who backhanded the puck into the net, running over Braden Holtby in the process. It was Pouiot’s first goal of the playoffs (assists: Brian Rolston, Chris Kelly). Despite the remainder of the third period being as fast paced as any so far in these playoffs, overtime would once again be needed to determine a winner.
The first overtime session saw each team fail to capitalize on several quality scoring chances as each goalie continued to play at their very best. Still, there are no ties in hockey, and eventually something had to give. That something came in the form of a Nicklas Backstrom goal at 2:56 of double overtime (1, assist: Marcus Johansson), giving the Capitals the win and a 1-1 series split heading home.
The Caps, both as a team and as individual players, took several important strides in game two. Braden Holtby continued to be a godsend between the pipes. Alex Ovechkin increased both his shot total and his physical snarl, going one on one with Zdeno Chara on more than one occasion. But no area of improvement was more noticeable that the play of Alexander Semin and Mathieu Perreault. In game one, each looked somewhat timid, shying away from shot blocking and checking. Game two, however, saw both Semin and Perreault involve themselves in hitting, blocking, forechecking, and defense to a degree that came as a pleasant shock to Caps fans everywhere. In fact, Semin’s defensive performance was nothing short of spectacular. Hopefully each can continue their stellar play into Monday’s game three.