WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — All five previous games have been one goal games. Why should Game 6 have been any different?
The Washington Capitals were player at home having won two straight, had all the momentum and a chance to send the defending Stanley Cup champs home for the summer. But they couldn’t close out the series and fell 4-3 to the Boston Bruins in overtime. Now a winner take all Game 7 looms on the horizon for Wednesday night in Boston.
“It’s difficult, but I don’t think it’s going to be hard,” Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin said on going back to Boston for Game 7. “It’s going to be a 50-50 game, 50-50 chances.”
This entire series has been 50-50, about as even as you can get. It’s the first time in NHL history the first six games of a series have been one goal games. But for the first time since game one, the Bruins got on the board first.
PHOTOS: GAME 6 – CAPS VS BRUINS
Just under six minutes into the first period Rich Peverley deflected an Andrew Ference shot past Braden Holtby and in to give the Bruins an early advantage. But the Caps came back roughly four minutes later when a Mike Green shot from the point deflected off of Bruins defenseman Greg Zanon and in to the net to tie the game at one. For Green, it was his first goal since October 22–a span of 30 games.
Later in the period the Bruins regained the lead when David Krejci deflected a Milan Lucic pass by Holtby. The Bruins also out shot the Caps 11-10 in the period.
In the second the Caps came out flying, ended up out shooting the Bruins 15-5 in the period and almost had nothing to show for it. But late in the period, only 42 seconds remaining, Nicklas Backstrom threaded a beautiful pass to Jason Chimera on the doorstep who beat Tim Thomas to tie the game at two and give the Caps the momentum heading to the third.
In the third the Bruins struck first. Andrew Ference put in a rebound that sat there for what seemed like a year and beat Holtby who was down on the ice at the time. But that lead didn’t last long. Alex Ovechkin, who hasn’t scored in his last two playoff games, tied it up on a great offensive zone faceoff win by Nicklas Backstrom and Ovechkin beat Thomas five hole to send the game to overtime.
Only 3:17 into overtime, Nicklas Backstrom had a bad offensive zone turnover that led to a Tyler Seguin breakaway that beat Holtby and evened the series at three games a piece as the Caps have to head to Boston for a deciding game seven.
“Any experiences you get in the playoffs, it just adds to you,” Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said. “You know what to expect. Game 7s are exciting games because it’s do or die for both teams and they’re awesome to play in.”
The Caps out shot the Bruins 39-31, but went 0 for 4 on the power play while going 4 of 5 on the penalty kill. The Caps were also out hit 37-34 and blocked a series low 12 shots.
“It was tough, they had a four minute power play and that took a little bit of momentum out of us even though the penalty killers did a great job obviously,” Caps forward Joel Ward said. “It just takes a little momentum throughout the lineup. Main thing is just to stay out of the box and be aware of defensive zone coverage.”
The four minute minor happened early in the second period when Alex Ovechkin hit Zdeno Chara in the head with a high stick. It was a big penalty kill for the Caps which started out as a 4-on-3 due to matching minors by Troy Brouwer with roughing call and a Benoit Pouliot with a slashing penalty.
Braden Holtby had another terrific game stopping 27 shots on the night.
“They didn’t get much at all, especially on the 4-on-3,” Holtby said. “Even when they tried to shoot we were in the lane every time and that’s hard to do on a 4-on-3. It was good, that kept us in the game.”
The Capitals will have a day off tomorrow, practice on Tuesday and then head to Wednesday for the deciding game seven against the Boston Bruins.
“It’s tough, but we still have a chance on Wednesday,” Caps forward Nicklas Backstrom said. “We are just going to refocus and play our best game in Boston.”
Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Braden Holtby, Karl Alzner and Joel Ward had to say following the loss.
1st 9:47 Green (1), Ward (2), Hamrlik (2)
2nd 19:18 Chimera (1), Backstrom (2), Hamrlik (3)
3rd 15:08 Ovechkin (2), Backstrom (3)
Dale Hunter Postgame Audio
Nicklas Backstrom Postgame Audio
Mike Green Postgame Audio
Braden Holtby Postgame Audio
Karl Alzner Postgame Audio
Joel Ward Postgame Audio