The Boston Bruins finally broke through against Capitals rookie goalie Braden Holtby. After stopping 72 of the first 74 shots he saw in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, it took a relatively soft goal early in the second period, a relentless push to the front of the net by the third and fourth-line grinders and a bad break on a deflected Zdeno Chara shot to doom Washington in a 4-3 loss.
“The second and third goal, that was direct results of traffic in front,” Holtby said of tallies by fourth-line winger Daniel Paille and third-line winger Brian Rolston. “The second one goes off him, and I couldn’t find it real quick. It goes off of his stick. The third one, it’s a scramble. I see it late, find it late. It goes off my pad and the guy in front get it. Those are ones I would like to play a bit better, play harder, but those are goals they earned, and we want to make sure we outwork them in those areas.”
That was Boston’s plan all series. The Bruins just didn’t execute it very well in the first two games when they managed just two goals total. There was no real art to what they did on Monday. It was just a matter of fighting to get towards the front of the net – though poor defensive coverage and rebound control from Holtby was in part to blame for Paille’s goal at 9:38 of the second period. There wasn’t a soul around him.
Peverley’s goal, the first of the game for Boston 35 seconds into the second period, was soft, according to Holtby. It was nice work by the Bruins forward to fly up the right wing and then cut across the middle. The Caps’ blueliners got their signals crossed and John Carlson actually set a semi-pick on teammate Marcus Johansson in the middle. That gave Peverley enough time to fire a wrist shot on goal and for some reason Holtby picked it up late, had it deflect off his goal and slide past him.
“I think it’s just following the puck. Your eyes – some days they’re on, some days they’re just a bit off. You can tell that from the start, and when it’s gonna happen, you just start battling,” Holtby said. “It’s not the first time it’s happened, and it’s not the end of the world. You can’t be 100 percent at your best every day. That’s just not gonna happen.”
Later in the second, defenseman Jeff Schultz lost a puck to Bruins forward Shawn Thornton. Gregory Campbell cycled the puck out from behind the net and mad a nice pass to the left point, where Greg Zanon put a shot on goal. Unfortunately, Holtby was all alone with Paille. Neither Schultz nor Mathieu Perreault – surprised by the Campbell pass and the sudden switch of the offensive attack – drifted too far forward from Holtby and neither scrambled back in time to help clear the rebound.
Brooks Laich got outmuscled on the third Boston goal by Rolston. Two separate point shots resulted in rebounds. The second time was one too many as Rolston got his stick on the puck and scored. Chara’s goal – the second of the night during 4-on-4 play – was a classic deflection off an opponents’ stick. This time it was Roman Hamrlik. Holtby went down into the butterfly and the puck went up into the roof of the net.
“It’s not a secret. It’s basically what everybody tries to do especially in the playoffs,” Chara said. “ Just put as many shots in the net as possible and usually good things happen. We got a few bounces and that’s obviously a part of playoffs.”
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