Sixty minutes weren’t enough for the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins in game 1 of their best of seven series. Regulation time ended with a score of 0-0, just how it started, and it was anyone’s game heading into the extra time.
The Capitals looked like a new team in the extra time, coming out hard and fast early. Less than two minutes into overtime Marcus Johansson came in on Tim Thomas and rifled a shot through a screen that Thomas kicked out. In transition the Bruins fed the puck to Chris Kelly, who ripped his first shot of the game past Braden Holtby. Game over. In total, the shots came less than six seconds apart.
That’s not to say Holtby didn’t play his heart out in his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut. The 22-year-old stopped all 29 shots he faced in regulation, as well as shutting down the Bruins power play for almost eight straight minutes. Holtby will need to play like that all series in order for the Capitals to even have a shot at making it past the Bruins.
The Capitals offense was not nearly as potent as it should have been in a playoff game. They had a total of 17 shots in regulation, and didn’t test Thomas as much as they should have. Alex Ovechkin was stifled from the get go and only recorded two shots on net, both came in the third period.
The Capitals defense looked solid, for what appeared to be the first time all season. John Carlson hands down played the best defensive game of his career, while Karl Alzner, Dennis Wideman, and Mike Green all looked excellent protecting their young goaltender.
The team actually looked like a team, too. If someone crashed the net late, a defenseman was there to get in his face. When Alexander Semin got double teamed late in the third, there were four Capitals that swarmed to step up for him. That kind of play is what the Capitals have been lacking all season. They will need that to make it far in this year’s playoffs.
Overall it was a heart pounding game that either team could have won, but in the end the Bruins took this one from the grasp of the Capitals. The Capitals can’t let games like this slip away from them, especially now.
Game 2 is Saturday at 3 p.m. at TD Garden in Boston on NBC. Boston has been notoriously bad during matinee games this season so maybe, just maybe the Capitals can bring the series back home tied up at 1-1.