The Bruins’ Chris Kelly scored 78 seconds into overtime to give the Boston Bruins a victory in the first game of the best-of-seven playoff series. Rookie goaltender Braden Holtby played an outstanding game, making tremendous saves throughout regulation, but was beaten on the first shot he faced in overtime.
“It was a chess game out there and we battled hard,” said coach Dale Hunter after the game. “Unfortunately it was a perfect shot inside the post that won the game.”
The Caps played well throughout the game, including a solid defense that would bend but not break. With excellent patience, puck control and solid checking, the Caps played the defending champs to a stand still through 60 minutes.
The Caps spent considerable time on the penalty kill in the second period, tilting the ice in Boston’s favor. But the Caps played opportunistic offense to counter-attack through the first two periods and even dominated play in the third period.
In a highly anticipated matchup of superstar captains, Boston’s 6′ 9″ Zdeno Chara got the better of Alex Ovechkin, limiting the Caps’ leading goal scorer to just one shot on goal.
Holtby, playing in his first Stanley Cup playoff appearance, seemed cool under fire and made several dramatic saves to keep the Caps in the game as the majority of play was in his zone. At one point the Bruins lead in shots 26-7 before the Caps generated some offense in the third period.
Holtby even earned a tip of the cap from Bruins veteran netminder Tim Thomas. “I thought he did a very good job,” said Thomas after the game. “He worked very hard. I’m hoping he wore himself out a little bit, because I hope he doesn’t play that good every game.”
Game 2 is Saturday night in Boston. The Caps will have to put together another solid performance and generate a few more scoring chances to steal a game from the Bruins on the road.