Nicklas Backstrom scored 2:56 into the second overtime to lift the Capitals to a 2-1 win over the Bruins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Saturday at TD Garden. the series is tied, 1-1, and shifts to Washington for Game 3 Monday night. Tim Thomas stopped 37-of-38 shots before allowing the game-winner from nearly the identical spot on the ice that Chris Kelly won Game 1 in overtime. Braden Holtby stopped 43-of-44 Bruins shots for his first NHL playoff win.
The series has been a defensive battle so far, with both teams fighting to a scoreless tie after one period.
The Bruins had several chances in the second period, including two from close range in the slot from Patrice Bergeron. But the first was partially stopped by Holtby before it went through his legs before just missing the net. then with under five minutes left in the period, Bergeron again had a point-blank chance but Holtby denied the Bruins top center.
But moments later, it was the Capitals who broke through when Alex Ovechkin centered the puck. Tim Thomas attempted to come out and cover but he collided with defenseman Greg Zanon and Troy Brouwer was there to take advantage of the opportunity. he backhanded the puck between Thomas’ legs for the Captials first goal of the series, after not scoring for the first 99 minutes, 15 seconds of the series.
Thomas also had a signficant streak come to an end, as he allowed his first playoff goal since Max Lapierre scored late in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals in June. Thomas had gone 161 minutes and 41 seconds without allowing a playoff goal.
Trailing after 40 minutes, the Bruins appeared stymied again by the tight Washington defense when Brad Marchand was stopped right in front midway through the third. But a hustle play was the difference as Boston finally broke through. Thursday’s hero – Chris Kelly – came down the left wing, dropped a pass for Brian Rolston, who centered the puck. Holtby came out to cover but Benoit Pouliot got to the puck before he could cover and flipped a backhander into the center of the vacated net, tying the game, 1-1, with 7:47 left in regulation.
Both teams had quality chances in the first overtime, including Keith Aucoin, who was denied right in front by Thomas with under 10 minutes left in the period. the Bruins had five of the first six shots on goal in the period. Kelly was wide open on the weak side when the puck came through but he was tied up by Dennis Wideman and couldn’t get his stick down on the ice.
The Bruins continue to struggle on the power play, missing out on two chances, making them 0-for-6 on the man advantage in the series. After blocking 22 shots in Game 1, the Capitals blocked another 25 to help in the defensive effort in front of their rookie goalie.
The series now shifts to the nation’s capital for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Thursday at the Verizon Center. for complete coverage of Game 2 from the team of DJ Bean and Mike Petraglia, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins and the Big bad Blog.