Well that was fun, huh? Not what most were expecting, but a win is a win. As I said on Twitter, I’m going to try to do a few quick points here in the blog the night of the games, and then post the longer “Morning After” piece on the site in the AM. If you read both, you’re either my mother or are trying to flatter me. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?
–Holtby answers Braden Holtby came into tonight’s game as the Caps’ second biggest question mark, after their defense. Holtby passed the test with flying colors, allowing just a single goal. Unfortunately for him, that single goal was in overtime, and was on a shot he probably should’ve stopped. Still, Holtby played with poise, fire (maybe a bit too much, considering he got a roughing penalty), and composure.
–Thomas was sharp As good as Holtby was, Tim Thomas was even better. Thomas wasn’t tested with as many pucks as Holtby was, but one could argue that Thomas faced higher-quality chances. His toe save on Alexander Ovechkin was a thing of beauty, and he did a good job controlling his rebounds as well.
–Strong game from Corvo Joe Corvo is the whipping boy for this year’s Bruins. That isn’t likely to change, unless he has a J.D. Drew moment in this series. However, Corvo was tremendous tonight. His chip to Brian Rolston led directly to the game-winning goal. He made good decisions in the offensive zone (when to shoot, pass, pinch, etc.), and was solid in his own end too. I saw only one turnover from Corvo, and was impressed with his decision-making and offensive instincts. He’ll probably be back in the press box Saturday if Adam McQuaid is ready to return. But he’s at least made Claude Julien’s decision a little difficult.
-Tertiary scoring I said in my series preview that secondary/tertiary scoring would be key, and that was clearly the case tonight. Both top lines got the occasional chance, but for the most part, it was the bottom six guys who were making the biggest plays. It remains to be seen whether or Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and Co. can be kept under wraps for the whole series, but none of the “big guys” (on both teams) was all that impressive tonight.
–Seidenberg was stellar Dennis Seidenberg won’t get the accolades or attention defense partner Zdeno Chara gets, but he was huge tonight. He was the most physical player on the ice, shadowed Ovechkin everywhere, made good plays with his stick, and just played an all-around terrific game. If Seidenberg can play at that level for the rest of the series, Ovechkin and Co. are in trouble.
-Which way will it go? I feel like there are two different ways to think about tonight’s game. The first is that the Bruins were outplayed for much of the third, couldn’t generate much offense, and got lucky that Holtby whiffed on that shot. The other is that the Caps played a near-perfect defensive game, shut down the B’s best players, got solid goaltending and defense…and still lost. Which one is it? I’m not sure, but I’m leaning towards the latter. However, it’s only one game, and such generalizations usually end up making people look bad.
That’s it for tonight. Check the site tomorrow around noon for my “Morning After” piece from tonight’s game.