Monday, April 5, 2010

Liveblog: Bruins-Capitals game

Here at the Verizon Center. It is very loud, as has been the case all season. But, the Capitals don't have a lot to play for, having sewn up the President's Trophy and the No. 1 seed in the NHL playoffs.

Scratches for Boston: Andrew Ference, Shawn Thornton, Trent Whitfield, Dennis Seidenberg, Mark Stuart

Washington: Brendan Morrison, Boyd Gordon, Milan Jurcina, Mike Green, Quintin Laing and John Carlson.

Puck has dropped and game is on.

Nice save by Tuukka Rask early to get him into the zone.

With 28.8 seconds left, Ovechkin did what he does best: take the puck to the net and through it into the scrum where it went into the net off of Knuble's skate. The play was reviewed, but again- to no avail. No distinct kicking motion= Knuble's 27th of the year to give the Caps a late boost and make it a 2-2 hockey game.

So much for that. Alex Ovechkin combined with Nicklas Backstrom for a under review. Dennis Wideman tried to save the puck from crossing the line after Backstrom took the pass from Ovechkin and rolled it through Rask. Call initially ruled a goal by the referee. Valiant attempt by Wideman to pull it out before it crossed the line, but to no avail...goal counts, 1-0 Caps, Backstrom's 31st of the season and 93rd point. Former Bruin Mike Knuble had the other assist, giving him 50 points on the year (which would be good for a share of the team lead if he were still in Boston)

Bruins behind the 8-ball with less than eight minutes into it...where have we seen this movie before?

The sequence at around the 10-minute mark was a microcosm of what has been the Bruins' season: Vladimir Sobotka's wraparound denied, then Michael Ryder hits a sprawling Jose Theodore with puck after looking at a near wide-open net.

Pretty sloppy play by the Bruins in their own zone with around 4 minutes left in the first. Not going to win this game by turning the puck over like that...

Them with less than 2 seconds left, the Bruins found life. Point shot from Dennis Wideman found the back for the net and just like that, it's 1-1. B's outshooting Caps 12-7. Huge, huge goal for the Bruins.

Second period, back in action. Boston on the power play now with holding the stick minor against former Bruin Shaone Morrisonn.

Penalty real sustained offensive pressure. Now, David Krejci in the box for crosschecking Alexander Semin...two minute variety.

Zdeno Chara gone with an injury that drew to the dressing room for repairs and will hopefully be back soon. B's can't afford another lost D, to say nothing of the reigning Norris Trophy winner.

Krejci penalty killed off successfully. Both teams 0-for-1 with the man advantage.

Marco Sturm missed what looked like an on-target pass from Krejci and had a lot of net to hit.

Patrice Bergeron dekes and SCORES on Theodore...forehand shot to give Bruins the lead. Mark Recchi with one of the assists and Milan Lucic with the other on Bergeron's 19th tally of the season.

Rask playing very calm and collected in the Boston nets-- his play is remarkable given the enormous pressure he is under.

Ovechkin did what he did best with 28.8 seconds left in the second period by taking it to the net and throwing it out in front, where Knuble's skate deflected it into the net behind Rask. The play was reviewed, but no distinct kicking motion= Knuble's 27th of the year.

After two periods, it's 2-2; 20 minutes to a crucial point in Boston's season.

Washington just flashed a graphic that said that Recchi's assist was the 109th point of his career against the Capitals, good for first on the all-time list. All those years in Pittsburgh and Philly are the main reason he's had such prolific totals in the nation's capital.

Third period underway. Faceoff in the Boston zone.

Caps with the advantage in territorial play-- outshooting the B's 26-21 with 13:26 left in regulation.

Bruins could not convert on their second power stationary, too much passing. Not enough shots on Theodore to be effective. Now outshooting Caps shots for Washington since before my 13:26 update. Rask needs to come up big.

Caps now doing their "Unleash the fury" madness...should've worn earplugs.

OK, folks. I'm going to shutdown to position myself downstairs. Will be back with final thoughts and observations later.

I lied. I'm back. Just in time to see Brooks Laich score in OT while on the PP. Saw that one coming a mile away...full face shield and all.

Was on the road today, but back to provide some brief observations from last night. For more details, you can see my New England Hockey Journal blog entry here.

The Bruins had their chances to win the game. They were a little sluggish and tentative, and 19 minutes in, I didn't see the kind of desperation you expected from a team in their position. But when Wideman broke through with 2.8 seconds left to tie the score, it changed the whole mood and tempo. I thought Boston played much better in the second and third periods, but again-- their problems scoring goals reared up. Ryder got stoned with a two-pad stack that Theodore was joking about afterward, calling it an "old school" save, but I assure you-- this is just one more troubling development with a player like Ryder, who scored 27 times last year but only 16 and has been on a severe drought when his team needs him the most. Marco Sturm also missed out on some golden opportunities to put the puck in the net.

As for Washington, they rested All-Star defenseman and Norris Trophy candidate Mike Green, and didn't really attack the net aggressively like I've seen them do. Their two regulation goals were of the garbage variety, but they still counted, and I think the review officials got the calls right given what they had to work with. At the same time, watching the Caps kind of go through the motions reminded me and I think most who watched the game, that the Bruins blew a real chance to grab that extra point and put themselves into prime playoff position.

Now, they'll have to sweat it out over the final three games.

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