Thursday, April 12, 2012

Holtby Stands Tall, Caps Fall In OT

Capitals 0, Bruins 1 OT1 Boston leads series 1-0
Game Summary - Event Summary

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The first star for the Washington Capitals just happened to be a 22 year old rookie goaltender Braden Holtby playing in his first career Stanley Cup game. In the opening round of the seven game series between the Bruins and Caps, Holtby would force overtime with 29 saves through the first three periods of play. But a slapshot off the wing was the only shot to beat the young netminder by Bruin Chris Kelly would do the Caps in as Boston takes the 1-0 series lead.

Holtby stood tall for most of the game taking on a barrage of Bruins' shots, including a long series of penalty kills in the second period. The B's didn't make it easy on the rookie netminder getting into his grill every chance they got. Holtby even took a rough penalty punching out a charging Chris Kelly as both teams were playing 4 on 4. He was 29 for 29 through the first three periods, but the first shot by the Bruins in the overtime period was the game winner, just 1:18 into the extra frame. He would earn second star status for the game.

After playing somewhat solidly in front of him, the Caps did give too much room to a streaking Kelly who powered a slap shot glove side beating Holtby. The Capitals had 22 blocked shots compared to the Bruins' 17. Roman Hamrlik lead the team with 5 blocked shots.

Alex Ovechkin may not have accumulated the shots in this game, but he did rack up on hits. He had an explosive hit on Dennis Seidenberg in the second period that sent the TD Garden faithful to their feet. But he only had a single shot on net, even though he threw his body around for 7 hits. In the playoffs more is expected of the Caps' captain. He didn't deliver much offensively and was often stifled by the Bruins defense that often closed three players down on the star player.

As much as the bodies were flying around, it would be the smallest Cap that made the biggest difference out front. Matthieu Perreault was all over the ice tonight, and even had a good chance late in the third, but couldn't corral the puck for a shot off a rebound. In fact the Caps did a terrible job jumping on rebounds on some mediocre saves by Tim Thomas.

The Capitals' PK was perfect tonight, able to kill off all four penalties they took. While the PK was chugging right along, the Caps power play is still struggling. With only two chances all game, the Caps need the PP to click soon or it will be a short post season for them. 

But it is not all doom and gloom. The Caps are only down a game in a seven game series. They were able to keep the crowd out of it for most of the game, stifled and frustrated the Bruin forwards and nearly wore them down as the game went along. It was a great road game in a long series.

The Caps will have to lean on the third and fourth lines to find success. With a deep defensive squad the Bruins have, it will be important for the role-playing guys to step up.

Caps Notes:
  • This was the first playoff game in franchise history in which the Caps went to overtime tied 0-0.
  • Mike Knuble, Dmitry Orlov, Cody Eakin, Jeff Halpern, and Mattias Sjogren were the healthy scratches for the Capitals.
  • Weird happening at the end of the game as the Bruins celebrated the overtime goal. The Fans punched a pane of glass out and it hit David Krejci. Hopefully that is a bad omen for the B's going on in this series.

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