Post-game Notes Round 1: Capitals vs. Bruins – Game One 4/13/12

If this game represents what the rest of the series is going to look like, well, get the defibrillators ready.

Going into last night’s game the Boston Bruins held a 43-45 record in Game 1’s of a best of 7 series. A stat like that makes last night’s win, an overtime thriller, that much more exciting. Some interesting things to note about the ending of that game: In a recent interview Benoit Pouliot was talking about how the Bruins third line last year (Michael Ryder, Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley) came up very big for the Bruins in the playoffs.

“They were clutch. They came up with some big goals and [knocked] us out of the playoffs. After that, they kept going. That was nice. I watched the games, and those guys always had chances. They played well when they did, and they scored.”

Pouliot went on to talk about his hopes for third line success in the 2012 playoffs. Well, he got off to a good start last night by receiving a nice feed from Brian Rolston and dishing it to Chris Kelly who scored the game-winner just 1:18 into OT with a wicked slappah. So far, the third line is doing their job.

More importantly, Chris Kelly is (continuing) to do his job as our third line center. Cageface was clutch in the playoffs last year, went on to have a career season and stepped up once again in this year’s playoffs. We’re hoping this success continues and hoping that Chia resigns this badass.

Another thing I have to note (even if I don’t want to) is the strong play in between the pipes by rookie goaltender Braden Holtby for the Caps. Before the game I said that he would need to play a very strong game or the Bruins would tear him apart. While the kid made some spectacular saves, and he did look comfortable, the B’s didn’t exactly capitalize on all the scoring chances they were given. Don’t get me wrong, Holtby held down the fort when the Caps needed him to (with the exception of Kelly OT winner) but I’m not completely convinced that the Bruins challenged him enough. After the game even Claude said they could have done a better job at finishing offensive chances. Both teams need to improve on things going into Game 2.

That’s probably the most animated Kelly celly I’ve ever seen.

Fun fact: Tim Thomas extended his playoff shutout streak after making 17 saves against the Caps.

Another fun fact: The last time Boston won a 1-0 overtime playoff game was 77 years ago – March 25, 1935. The game winner was scored by Dit Clapper.

What we learned: The B’s are going to face a bigger challenge than anticipated in Holtby. He looked very calm in his first playoff game and for the most part stopped everything Boston threw at him. This was also from the help of solid defensive play from Washington (courtesy of Dale Hunter). We should expect the Caps to come back, desperate to steal the W and tie up the series, and to come back with more offense. Timmy will have to be sharp as will our defense. The B’s offense has to capitalize on those scoring chances.

Just remember: Like I said several times throughout this post-gamer the B’s need finish off those offensive chances in Game 2. They need to challenge Holtby more, take away his vision, shoot at awkward angles.

Well, that’s pretty much it. Hopefully the Bruins can steal Game 2 before they head out to Washington for Games 3 and 4.

Believe in Boston.

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