Displaying the fighters’ instinct that helped make them champions a year ago, the Boston Bruins defeated the Capitals in game six to force a deciding game seven in Boston.
The entirety of the series has seen scoreless or low scoring first periods. Game six’s, however, saw a combined three goals. The Bruins opened the scoring early when Rich Peverly tipped an Andrew Ference slap shot past Braden Holtby at 5:56. It was Peverly’s third goal of the series (assists: Andrew Ference, Patrice Bergeron). The Capitals, perhaps spurred on by their roaring hometown fans, would tie the game shortly after. Mike Green, whose offensive game has been improving in each game of the series, finally broke through. At 9:47 of the period, he put a slap shot off of Greg Zannon’s leg and into the net, tying the game at one. The goal, which sent the Verizon Center crowd into a frenzy, was Green’s long awaited first of the playoffs (assists: Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik). Boston’s Davis Krejci would give his team back the lead on the power play, scoring his first goal of the postseason at 16:48 (assists: Milan Lucic, Rich Peverly).
Period two told a story of missed opportunities for the Capitals. After displaying superb defensive ability by killing a four minute high sticking penalty on Alex Ovechkin, they failed to convert on several glowing chances. Most notable was a desperation stick save by Tm Thomas on Marcus Johansson, who had an open net staring back at him for what felt to Caps’ fans like an eternity. Still, amongst so many chances, the Caps were bound to strike once and did with under a minute to go in the period. Turning a Boston giveaway into a two on one, Nicklas Backstrom slid the puck across the slot to the speeding Jason Chimera who would not miss. Chimera’s first goal (assists: Nicklas Backstrom, Roman Hamrlik) of the series could not have come at a better time as it gave Washington the momentum heading into the third period.
Boston would again regain the lead at 11:57 of the third period when Andrew Ference wristed the puck by Braden Holtby for his first goal of the playoffs (assist: Tyler Seguin). To quote that oldest and often most apt of sports clichés, big players make big plays in big games. And Alex Ovechkin is a very, very big player. With under five minutes remaining in regulation, he took a Nicklas Backstrom faceoff win and zipped the puck between Thomas’ legs and into the net, tying the game at three (2, assist: Nicklas Backstrom). Moments later, Ovi came within inches of winning the series for Washington but hit the crossbar on a laser beam of a wrist shot. Regulation over, overtime was needed to decide a winner.
In a short, Bruins dominated overtime, Tyler Seguin would score on a beautiful move in front of the net to force game seven. The goal, which seemed to lift an immense weight off his young shoulders, was his first of the playoffs (assists: Milan Lucic, Davis Krejci).
En route to a Stanley Cup last season, Boston won three game sevens so the Caps know that the work is cut out for them. The stars, who came through for the Caps in game six will need to do so once more in Wednesday’s game seven.