It was Game 5 at the Boston Bruins' TD BankNorth Garden and the series was all knotted up at two apiece.
A young upstart by the name of Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals was making a name and a series of it.
Game 4 was a close one and the young netminder of the Caps really kept his team in it, stopping 44 of 45 shots on net.
In the opening frame, both goalies made some great saves and the shots were 11-10 for the Caps.
The chances were on the Bruins' side, but they could not cash in on any of them, which could be their downfall if things didn't change.
Twice in the period Holtby was saved by the goal post—once on a Bruins' power play off the cross bar and another when Daniel Paille pinged one off the right post on a near short-handed tally.
In the second frame, the floodgates opened a little.
Joe Corvo went down to block a shot, barely able to get up, but the play continued.
The Caps scored on the same shift as Alexander Semin wristed a shot past Tim Thomas to open the scoring.
According to Rule 8:
When a player is injured so that he cannot continue play or go to his bench, the play shall not be stopped until the injured player’s team has secured possession of the puck. If the player’s team is in possession of the puck at the time of injury, play shall be stopped immediately unless his team is in a scoring position.
The Caps had the puck so the play was able to continue...personally, that is like having a de facto power play, but there you are.
Crovo did not return to the game.
Bruins Coach Claude Julien was not so understanding and maybe for good reason. The call was not made in similar fashion in Game 4.
"That was the frustrating part for me," Julien said. "When we were in Washington for the last game, twice they had players go down in their own end, and we had full control of the puck, and the whistle was blown right away with no hesitation. And tonight they decided they're not. So, I was a little perturbed. Is there two sets of rules or one? I know they're different referees, but it's still the same series. That was frustrating because they ended up scoring a goal on that." NESN.com
Jay Beagle extended the Caps' lead as he wristed a shot past Thomas to put them up 2-0.
The Bruins looked lackluster in their play, but something seemed to have popped as Dennis Seidenberg played off a check from Alex Ovechkin and kept going into the attacking zone after Milan Lucic.
Lucic made a cross-ice pass and Seidenberg unloaded on the puck to blast it past Holtby to bring the Bruins within one.
Just 28 seconds later, Brad Marchand was crashing the net and made a whack at the puck lying just in front of Holtby. It trickled through his five-hole and into the net to tie the game at two.
Three of the top scorers for the Bruins had finally gotten on the stat sheet offensively. Lucic, Marchand and David Krejci each earned a point in those 28 seconds.
A couple of ex-Bruins did some damage.
Dennis Wideman kept the play alive and dumped the puck on the net to give Mike Knuble a juicy rebound to give the Caps the lead again.
Johnny Boychuk ripped a shot past Holtby's glove side on the Bruin's first power-play goal of the series (it only took four games, two periods and change).
Seidenberg skated up the ice and got Marchand going into the attacking zone. He passed it back to Seidenberg at the point who passed it cross-ice to Boychuk.
With 2:50 left, Benoit Pouliot is called for the slash to put the Caps on the power play.
Troy Brouwer made the B's pay for it, as he ripped a shot from the left faceoff circle and the Caps had the lead with 1:27 left in regulation.
The goal turned out to be the game-winner, as the defending Stanley Cup champions are now facing elimination being down 3-2 in the series.
Final score—4-3 Washington.
Again, the big difference for the game decision is Braden Holtby, as he played very well and was on the good side of a right post and a crossbar.
The possible deciding Game 6 is tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m. ET in Washington, or the series will go to a Game 7 back at Boston on Wednesday, April 25th.
The Bruins can take solace that their top players are clicking offensively, they finally got a power-play goal and all the games were decided by one goal, meaning any game can go in any direction.
The Caps can take solace that they can go toe-to-toe with the Bruins and that their unproven goaltender in Holtby is quickly looking to be proven. Some of the goals looked shaky, but in the end, he did enough to get the win.
See you at Game 6.
Patrice Bergeron and Joe Corvo did leave the game and did not return. They are questionable for Game 6.
This is Cory Ducey saying, "Hit Hard, but Keep It Clean."