Capitals Defeat Bruins 3-2, Ruin Playoff Clinching Hopes
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 12:04
With just six games left in the regular season, the Boston Bruins had a chance to clinch a playoff berth Thursday night. This has to be somewhat of a relief for what was an up and down season for the Bs, that saw injury after injury and some rough streaks for the team.
Before they could capture a playoff spot, they would have to get through the Washington Capitals. The Capitals are also fighting for the eighth spot in the playoffs, trailing the Buffalo Sabres by two points. Could the Bruins overcome a desperate and fighting team?
Head Coach Claude Julien said of the matchup prior to the game “Clinching a spot is the right thing, and you’re playing a team that’s really battling hard to get themselves in the playoffs. We all know here, and we can say it and pretend it’s just smoke coming out of my mouth, but this team here is going to be tough to play against tonight.”
Five minutes into the first, there was only shot on the board, and it belonged to Capitals Alexander Ovechkin. It was a slow period for shots all around. Past the half way mark there were just three shots with two belonging to the Bruins and no goals for either team.
Then with six minutes left, the Bruins had a frightening moment as defensemen Adam McQuaid was checked into the boards by Capitals’ Jason Chimera. Chimera was tossed from the game with a misconduct for charging.
Following this the Bruins went on the powerplay, during which time Washington pulled starting goalie Tomas Vokoun for Michal Neuvirth. The Bruins could not capitalize on the powerplay and would end the period tied at zero and potentially down yet another player.
The second started with both teams needing to pick up the pace, and the game remained goalless. The Bruins also received some bad news as it was confirmed that McQuaid would not return to the game. The Bruins had the edge over the Capitals for much of the period as they doubled Washington’s shots, 13-6 past the halfway mark. But either way, neither team could break the deadlock.
David Krejci was sent to the penalty box at 11:08, giving Washington their first powerplay of the game. The Bruins special teams came through on the penalty kill, not even allowing a shot on goal. The clock dwindled down and the teams left the ice at the end of the second still scoreless.
The third period was underway. Bruins got a great chance early on as Benoit Pouliot fed Patrice Bergeron the puck in front of the net, but Washington goalie Neuvirth poked it away. There was a tie break finally at 7:59 in the third; unfortunately for the Bruins it was the Capitals who broke it. Former Bruin Dennis Wideman would be the one to break the tie, with assist from Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson.
The Capitals would quickly add to their lead when Johansson scored a goal of his own. In the blink of an eye, the scoreless game was changed and the Bruins trailed by two with less than a period to go. At 16:50 the Bruins would tack on a goal by David Krejci on a tip in by a Chara blast. Just as it began to look like the time clock was going to end the Bruin night, Andrew Ference tied things up.
The game was ready for overtime. Bruins took charge in OT, but couldn’t get the crucial goal. There was a scramble in front of the net as the seconds dwindled down, but the Bruins couldn’t capitalize.
And so the game went to a shootout. Bergeron and Tyler Seguin both scored for the Bruins, Alexander Semin and Matt Hendricks. But after both teams managed to go 2 for 3 in the shootout it would be the Capitals’ Brooks Laich who sealed it. Just like that the Bruins lost the game and remain one point away from clinching a playoff spot.