The Boston Bruins begin their quest to defend their Stanley Cup championship last year with a fresh postseason which began last week when they started a best of seven game series against the Washington Capital. Boston finished the regular season with the second seed in the Eastern Conference, good for home ice against Washington in the first round.
The Bruins are led by goaltender Tim Thomas, youngster Tyler Seguin, veterans Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara, as well as a cast of characters new and old coming together to hopefully lead a lengthy playoff run. Washington counters with big name star Alex Ovechkin, who led the Capitals in goals with 38 this year. The series seems poised to be a lengthy one, which Boston is accustomed to after three seven game series in the playoffs last year.
Each of the first two games featured thrilling sudden death overtime finishes. In Game 1, Chris Kelly fired a big slap shot past Braden Holtby, the Washington goalie who matched Tim Thomas all night long to send the game to a scoreless overtime. Kelly’s goal came just 1:18 into the extra period, causing the home crowd at the TD Garden to erupt with joy as Boston took a 1-0 lead in the series.
The second game was just as exciting despite the outcome. After the Capitals took a 1-0 lead in the second period, Benoit Pouliot tied it up with 7:47 remaining in regulation, setting up another potential dramatic victory…but the Capitals had other plans. The game remained deadlocked 1-1 after a full overtime period, and then 2:56 into the second overtime Nicklas Backstrom fired the game winner and the series became tied at one a piece.
The small sample size has shown fans in New England one clear thing: Washington is not to be taken lightly. The Capitals might have been the seventh seed in the East but they’re going to be a great first test for the Bruins. Offensively the teams seem overmatched by both goaltenders early on, as defenses have stifled offensive execution.
Now the series has shifted back to Washington where the Capitals attempt to use home ice to their advantage. The first team to four wins will take a step forwards towards hoisting the Stanley Cup, but there’s still quite the journey ahead for everyone. With sixteen teams currently alive and nothing but best of seven game series ahead, the NHL postseason typically carries on into the early summer months until June.