BOSTON (CBSDC) — Braden Holtby stopped the first 29 shots he faced Thursday night, but the 30th was all the Boston Bruins would need to capture a 1-0 victory over the Washington Capitals in overtime of their playoff opener.
“Mainly I wasn’t there for the boys in overtime and I’ll definitely be better for that,” Holtby said following the loss.
Bruins forward Chris Kelly had the game winner only 1:18 into the extra frame when his shot went off of Dennis Wideman’s stick and in.
“It was a perfect shot inside the post,” Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said on the game winner.
The truth is Holtby didn’t play like a rookie goalie, let alone one making his NHL playoff debut.
PHOTOS: CAPS VS BRUINS – GAME 1
All told, Holtby played a very strong game in net by stopping 29 of 30 shots, 17 of which came in the second period alone. That middle period was marred by penalties and was a huge reason the Bruins went 0-for-4 on power play opportunities.
The rookie also showed that he wouldn’t be intimidated when he got a two minute roughing penalty for pushing Chris Kelly in the second.
“He gave us a chance and, again, this kid has a great future and you can see how he plays right now but again,” Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin said of the budding star. “We all knew this was going to be a tight game and it was going to be who’s going to score one goal and who’s going to win the game and right now in overtime they scored a goal.”
The Caps offense wasn’t there for majority of the first two periods in which the Caps were out shot 26-7 during that time.
Ovechkin and Alexander Semin were each limited to one shot on goal on the night.
Washington found a few more opportunities in the third period when they managed to out shoot the Bruins 9-3.
“I think we did an all right first period and they had a lot of power play there in the second period, but in the third I think we played pretty good and had some chances there on the PP too, but it was a close game,” Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said.
The Caps were out hit 40-29, but matched the Bruins physicality pretty well, including when Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Seidenberg collided with Ovechkin getting the best of him.
“Lots of hits, it’s the playoffs,” Ovechkin said.
The Caps penalty kill was very strong and the Caps also blocked 22 shots on the night. The Caps power play wasn’t as good, going 0-for-2, but in the third period with the extra man, Ovechkin just missed beating Boston goalie Tim Thomas on a one-timer.
“I should score,” Ovechkin said. “He made a hell of a save, but in this game it’s going to be different. We know we can play against them and it’s nothing special out there, we just have to say focused.”
The Caps though did a lot of things right and have plenty to build on as they prepare for game two Saturday at 3pm in Boston before they head back to Verizon Center for games three and four.
“We did a lot of good things tonight and we’re taking a lot of good aspects out of this game,” Troy Brouwer said.
Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Braden Holtby, Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer and Jay Beagle had to say following the loss.
Dale Hunter Postgame Audio
Braden Holtby Postgame Audio
Brooks Laich Postgame Audio
Troy Brouwer Postgame Audio
Jay Beagle Postgame Audio