NHL Playoffs 2012: 5 Reasons the Capitals Will Defeat the Bruins

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NHL Playoffs 2012: 5 Reasons the Capitals Will Defeat the Bruins

The Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins last night 2-1 in a game that they absolutely needed to win.

Boston seemed to sit back on its heels for large parts of the game while the Capitals attacked. The first period saw the teams exchange goals, but the Bruins dominated in shots and puck possession. The plucky Caps had plenty of chances themselves, but often found Bruins blocking their path to the goal. Braden Holtby was a difference-maker in the first as he turned away 13 of 14 shots.

The second was more evenly matched in shots as the Capitals put Tim Thomas to the test. They scored their second power-play goal of the series on a top-shelf laser from Alex Semin. The Capitals seemed to get the better of the chances in the second as many of Boston's shots came from the perimeter.

The third period was all Boston as the Bruins played desperately and threw a ton of rubber at Holtby. The Bruins outshot the Caps 13-3 and had Washington on the ropes with sustained pressure. The period ended without a change in the score, with time expiring with the puck appropriately in Holtby's glove.

The series heads back to Boston with the next win being the most important.

The defending Cup champions have sputtered out of the gate. Bailed out in overtime for a Game 2 win and Chara's third-period winner in Game 3 hardly have Beantown bubbling over with confidence.

Conversely, the Capitals have yet to play a complete game and are still tied in the series. They will be getting their second-best player back from a one-game suspension for Game 5. Oh by the way, the rookie they have in goal has been as good and often better than Boston's playoff MVP from last year.

There is no reason to believe that this series won't go seven games.

All four games have been decided by one goal, and there seems to be no consistent momentum in any direction. With a win home and away for each, the best predictor would probably be a coin flip.

I think a long series favors the Capitals. Their season was a borderline disaster, salvaged by a last-ditch push just to qualify. They are a dangerous team that isn't just happy to be there. Here are five reasons the Capitals will eliminate last season's Stanley Cup champions.

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