Shots on Goal: Game 1 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals-Capitals vs Bruins
Boston began it’s defence of the Stanley Cup with a 1-0 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
On one end of the rink stood the grisled veteren and current Staney Cup Champion, Con Smythe and Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas. On the other end was 21 year old Braden Holtby with just 21 NHL games under his belt making his first playoff appearance. Holtby was next in line after the current tandem of Vokoun (groin) and Neuvirth (left leg) went down with injuries in the final weeks of the season.
Holtby’s only miscue of the night came at the 1:18 mark in overtime when Chris Kelly raced up the left wing and launched a rocket from the top of the circle that blew past his glove and into the cage.
The first two periods Holtby stood his ground and didn’t give an inch as most of the play was in the Washington end. Boston rattled off 9 shots in the first and a commanding 17 in the second to the Capitals 7 over the same time frame. At one point Boston had a 6 minute man advantage but the third string netminder had an answer for every offering.
The Capitals came out with renewed energy in the third period and tried to help Thomas break in his new Warrior pads by out shooting the B’s 9 to 3. The Caps best opportunity came early in the third on the powerplay when Alex Ovechkin saw an opening and fired a snap shot from inside the right circle that Thomas, moving left to right, caught up to it with a nice right pad save to end the bid.
After his standout performance, praise for Holtby came from both side of the ice.
“I thought he played very well,” says Thomas of the Caps rookie netminder. “I didn’t see a lot of holes tonight. He worked very hard. I’m hoping he expended a lot of energy and wore himself out a little bit, because I hope he doesn’t play that good every game. I thought he did a very good job.”
“I thought Holts was awesome,” says Caps center Brooks Laich. “His first NHL postseason game and I thought he was tremendous for us.”
“The next game will be different,” Ovechkin said. “We know we can play against them. Holtby played a hell of a game. He was nervous but once he made the first save he calmed down.”
The win for Thomas was his sixth career playoff shutout and his second consecutive post-season shutout, as he recorded a 4-0 win on June 15, 2011 in game seven of the Stanley Cup Final. He now carries a playoff shutout streak of 123:44 with his last playoff goal allowed a Maxim Lapierre goal at 17:34 of the third period on June 13, 2011 vs Vancouver in Boston.