Facing elimination just six games into the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston’s modern day version of the Cardiac Kids delivered a Sunday afternoon IBS special to their followers and managed to stave off elimination for the fifth straight time when Tyler Seguin potted the winner after outwaiting Braden Holtby on a breakwaway in overtime.
David Krejci knocked down a sloppy Nick Backstrom pass at center ice to start the transition on the winning goal. He slid a quick pass over to Milan Lucic on the left wing, who then sent a deft feed to a rushing Seguin. The 20-year-old had a clear path to the net and made a subtle move that Holtby bit on. A second later, the puck (and Dennis Wideman) was in the net and the Bruins were heading back to Boston for their third straight Game 7.
But it sure wasn’t easy. The Bs choked away three straight leads. Their own-zone D was shakier than a ‘70s motel bed. Alexander Ovechkin was looming like a vulture, like impending day. The power play, despite Krejci’s goal, appeared to waiting for an engraved invitation to shoot the goddamn puck. And they pissed away another late lead that seemed for sure like it would bite them in the ass.
Yet this team that won’t quit—can’t quit—pulled yet another rabbit out of their hat in a series that can best be described as a junkyard fight, because there hasn’t been much pretty about it. It’s also the first series in NHL playoff history to start with six one-goal games. So it’s only fitting that it comes down to one final game Wednesday night at the Garden.
A few more buds for your Game 7 bowl…
*It took awhile but the big guns for the Bruins finally got on track. Lucic, Krejci, Seguin, and Rich Peverley all tallied two points (as did Andrew Ference). Lucic was huge with two big assists. Seguin also made a big play to produce Ference’s goal. Here’s hoping that yesterday’s effort gives them some extra oomph for Wednesday night. Because the Caps aren’t gonna lay down at this point.
*The banged-up Patrice Bergeron (UBI) was a game time decision and still played 19:41. Though he was only able to take one face-off (that he won), Bergeron once again showed the grit and character that has made him a beloved Bruin both among the fans and his own teammates by answering the bell when his team needed him most. Though he was limited in his effectiveness, Bergeron still nearly ended the game in OT when his deflection of a Brad Marchand pass beat Holtby but then hit the crossbar. He did assist on Peverley’s first period goal.
*Speaking of Holtby, a whole lot of people need to pump the brakes with him. Yeah, the kid has put up some great numbers in his playoff debut. But he’s also let in some stinkbombs and has hardly had ice water in his veins like the young goalies of NHL postseason history he keeps getting compared to. Let’s let the kid win a series before we mention him in the same breath as Ken Dryden, ok?
*After Thomas’ dud on Saturday, the Bs goalie made 36 saves on 39 shots and once again made several saves when they mattered. Tank’s aggressive style also added to the high-wire act that was Game 6. He came way out to challenge several times, essentially forcing the Caps to beat just him and his head-to-head match-up with Ovechkin provided much drama throughout the day.
*The refereeing in this series has been terrible, both ways. But then, that’s nothing new.
*Judging by crowd noise and feedback from people who attended games in D.C., the Caps might have the most clueless fans in the league. Nice folks…but clueless about the game of hockey. Booing the four minute double-minor given to Ovechkin for bloodying Zdeno Chara’s nose after the replays clearly showed the infraction was borderline embarrassing. But yelling for a delay of game penalty when Dennis Seidenberg shot the puck into the crowd from the neutral zone was just flat-out comical. And yeah, I know it’s not all Caps fans.
*Shawn Thornton was a surprising scratch for the first time these playoffs. Jordan Caron filled in his spot and had one shot in 4:56 of ice time. Mike Mottau filled in for the injured Joe Corvo and filled in with a serviceable 9:21 (though we likely won’t see him out there with Greg Zanon again anytime soon).