Boston Bruins Win Big Physical Game Against Washington Capitals, 4-3

The Boston Bruins took a 2-1 playoff series lead over the Washington Capitals by fighting hard to secure and hold a one-goal lead–even winning in regulation.

This game got pretty physical right from the start, with both teams trying to make a statement and lay out lots of hits. But, it was a scoreless match until late in the first, when Alexander Semin started the score sheet while the Capitals were on the power play. The first period didn’t have much for Bruins fans to enjoy, but in the second and third, they began to surge offensively–and add some more physicality to the mix too.

Some thoughts from this game:

  • Daniel Paille‘s goal to re-tie the game–after Rich Peverley tied it at one and then Alexander Ovechkin untied it 13 seconds later–exemplified the kind of work the Bruins need to do on Braden Holtby. Paille simply corralled and controlled a rebound effectively. For his effort, he received the MVP chain.
  • When Brian Rolston scored his first goal of these playoffs, he seemed so happy. Later he told Kirk Luedeke that he felt gratified, “more than words can say,” to be back with the Bruins. What a guy.
  • Zdeno Chara ran hot and cold in this game. He was freezing cold when he and Dennis Seidenberg failed to stop Brooks Laich on a breakaway that led to Washington’s third goal of the night. But he was hot when he scored the last goal to give the Bruins the lead they’d need for the win. Chara has made mistakes defensively before, although that one seemed egregious.
  • The third line wasn’t the only line to contribute offensively in this game. Defensemen and forwards from many parts of the lineup contributed to this win.
  • Having said that, I’m not feeling the line changes, though. Patrice Bergeron was centering Milan Lucic and Peverley. David Krejci was in the middle of Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. Of these six players, only Bergeron and Peverley got on the board. Seguin seemed practically invisible and Marchand was only really involved in a physical incident as discussed below. Lucic got physical too, but not offensive. Not sure why some of the top six players aren’t doing their best in the series yet, but I’m also unsure that these line changes will help. I’d love to be proven wrong.
  • Unlike games one and two of this series, the Capitals did not block considerably more shots than the Bruins. Actually, the visitors blocked more shots this time, perhaps proving Claude Julien’s focus of not worrying about shot-blocking to be true.

Also, things are getting pretty heated physically between these teams. There were many post-whistle discussions and some incidents that evolved into a little more. Take, for example, when Jason Chimera appeared to spear Marchand in a sensitive region:

He didn’t get a penalty, although after the game, reportedly Karl Alzner apologized for elbowing Marchand earlier in the game. Alzner also found himself caught up in a scuffle with Lucic and Matt Hendricks.

Nicklas Backstrom incurred a match penalty at the very end of the game for cross-checking Peverley in the face:

Match penalties mean an automatic suspension until the league can review the play, but look for that to happen before game four. I would bet on Backstrom being back on Thursday. Considering the heated tone of this game, look for game four to have more of the same.

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