April 22, 2012

Seguin strikes in OT, forces Game 7 for Bruins and Caps

By Jesse Connolly

Final: Boston 4, Washington 3 (OT)

Recap: For just the second time in the series (the first being Chris Kelly’s OT goal in Game 1), Boston got on the board first as Rich Peverley redirected a shot from Andy Ference past Braden Holtby to make it 1-0 with 5:56 gone.

Less than four minutes later, a Mike Green slapper ricocheted off Greg Zanon’s leg out in front and past Tim Thomas to make it 1-1. But before the period had concluded, David Krejci buried his first of the playoffs, tipping in a pass from Milan Lucic to make it 2-1 in favor of the Bruins.

In a wild second period that saw 12 minutes in minor penalties handed out, Jason Chimera tallied with 42 ticks to go, burying a feed from Nicklas “Win One For Nicky” Backstrom to knot things up.

In the third, Washington’s momentum carried over until Tyler Seguin sent a shot off Holtby’s mask, creating a rebound that Ference would slam home to make it 3-2 Boston. But, with just 4:52 left in regulation, Alex Ovechkin’s second goal of the postseason made it 3-3.

The two teams headed to overtime for the third time in the series. With 3:17 gone, Milan Lucic hit Tyler Seguin streaking down the middle of the offensive zone. He beat Holtby, patiently waiting until the netminder went down before snapping it home, to give the Bruins the victory and force a Game 7.

Series: Bruins and Capitals tied 3-3

Key Play of the Game: A seemingly harmless turnover led to the Capitals demise. Backstrom’s attempt to hit Marcus Johansson breaking down the right wing softly landed right on Krejci’s stick. He promptly flipped it to Lucic and the rest was history.

Connolly’s Commendations: Welcome to the playoffs, Mr. Seguin. The Bruins leading point-getter during the regular season finally got in the board in Game 6 of the playoffs, picking up an assist on Ference’s go-ahead goal and coming up huge with the winning strike in the extra session. He couldn’t have picked a better time to come alive.

Speaking of Ference, after getting by Chimera on the winner in Game 5 and coming in with a team-worst minus-4 rating, No. 21 had his best performance of the postseason with a goal and a helper. He finished plus-2 in 20:49 of ice time and also dished out four hits.

Seguin’s linemates also deserve a friendly pat on the back. Lucic had two assiss, was plus-2 and had four hits, while Krejci had 1-1-2 totals and five shots. Coming into Game 6, the Czech pivot had five shots in the entire series.

Rich Peverley, the team’s leading playoff scorer, also brought his A-game tonight for the Black and Gold, chipping in two points, hustling on every single shift and winning 13-of-24 (54%) faceoffs with Patrice Bergeron hindered by a presumed upper-body ailment.

Connolly’s Critiques: Benoit Pouliot deserved absolutely no blame for the weak penalty call he was assessed that led to the game-winning goal by Chimera on Saturday. However, his ill-timed roughing call with 8:50 gone in the third was a boneheaded move that could’ve killed the Bruins, as Pouliot left his feet to hit Brooks Laich up high in the corner when there was absolutely no need to do so.

Notes: The Bruins now embark on a fifth Game 7 in their last six playoff series. The Bruins have been victorious 12 of 22 times in seventh games. The Capitals are 2-7.

Final Thoughts: Boston had three separate one-goal leads in this one before finally vanquishing the Capitals in overtime. It’d be easy to critique their inability to hold down those leads – and boy was that third goal a head-shaker – but the Bruins showed just enough resolve to get by and keep their hopes of advancing to the second round alive with the win.

Next: The Bruins and Capitals will duke it out in Game 7 at TD Garden on Wednesday night.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.