Stanley Cup Playoffs 2012: Washington Capitals Advance, Bruins Eliminated

Cory DuceyAnalyst IIIApril 25, 2012

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 25:  Joel Ward #42 of the Washington Capitals is congratulated after he scored the game winning goal against the Boston Bruins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 25, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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It's Game 7 and the Washington Capitals are looking to move on to the next round. The only thing in their way? The defending Stanley Cup champion, Boston Bruins.

 

The Game

First Period

Just past the halfway mark of the opening period, Milan Lucic misplayed the puck along the boards in his own zone and that allowed Jason Chimera to pounce on it.

Chimera passed it back to John Carlson. Carlson shot it toward the net and Matt Hendricks tipped it to redirect the puck to Tim Thomas' right side and in.

1-0 Caps.

The start and end of the period were slow, as if both teams were playing careful, and it seemed that while the Bruins were trying to mix it up, the Caps were not biting.

 

Second Frame

At the beginning of the period, the Caps were applying the pressure with some decent forechecking.

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 25:  Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals stops a shot by Benoit Pouliot #67 of the Boston Bruins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 25, 2012 in B
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The centre of the ice was clogged up and chances to get into each other's zone to crowd the net were sparse.

Both teams had a few chances, but the defence on both teams were keeping it tight and collapsing on the net.

A blast from the point by Johnny Boychuk hit Braden Holtby and it was sitting behind him in the blue paint. Tyler Seguin was battling just to the right of Holtby and picked up on it to swipe it on the net.

The score was tied at one apiece.

Thomas made a pass from behind the net only to cough it up to former Bruin Mike Knuble. Knuble tried to centre it but Thomas recovered and put the mitt on it.

 

Final Frame

The game was all tied up going into the third and final frame and I was not surprised that it was this tight.

With less than half of the period left, Patrice Bergeron was called for hooking Alexander Semin.

Alex Ovechkin nearly tied it up, but Dennis Seidenberg stuck his leg out and blocked the shot that was going to an open right side of the Boston net.

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 25: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins shakes hands with Braden Holtby #70 of the Washington Capitals after Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 25, 2012 in
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Boston had a near short-handed break as the penalty expired, but nothing came out of it.

Jason Chimera mugged Johnny Boychuk with 2:26 left in regulation to give the Bruins the power play.

The officials have generally put their whistles in their pockets, but the call was one of those "have to call it" penalties.

Nothing materialized from it.

Guess what? The game is going to overtime and the one-goal difference record has now been extended to a full series.

This was the fourth in the series.

 

Overtime

Early in the frame, the Bruins nearly ended it but the puck was cleared by the Caps.

The Bruins committed a turnover and were on a bad change, which allowed the Caps to go the other way.

Benoit Pouliot slapped the puck toward the attacking zone and it hit to what appeared to be Knuble.

Knuble gained the zone. He backhanded the puck as he was charging the net and Thomas stopped it, but lost it in the scrum.

Joel Ward was following up and he backhanded it past Thomas to end the series and the season for the Bruins.

On the replay, Knuble was in the crease and had clear contact with Thomas before the puck was released by Ward.

The contact was, in fact, more than enough for Thomas to be impeded in his crease area. As a rule, the goal should have been disallowed, but the officiating declared it a good goal and the series ended in controversy.

This was the third time in history that a rookie goaltender defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions in the opening round.

My hat is off to the Washington Capitals. For a team that was not supposed to play defensively, does not traditionally block shots and was forced to play an unproven goalie, it stepped it up and will go on to the next road to Lord Stanley's Mug.

The Stanley Cup will find a new champion.

This is Cory Ducey saying, "Hit hard, but keep it clean."