Chris Kelly's Overtime Goal sent the Bruins home winners
In September 2009, I moved to the greater Washington D.C metropolitan area to attend school at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. At the time, it was the height of the success of the Washington Capitals. They were winning President’s Trophies, they had one of the best players in the world in Alexander Ovechekin, and were consistently getting into the playoffs as champions of hockey’s Southeast Division. After a 2008 season which saw the Bruins and the Capitals finish first and second in the Eastern Conference but fail to meet in the playoffs, we were all but certain that a Bruins vs. Capitals playoff series was going to happen soon.
In 2009-2010, the Bruins struggled and finished as the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference. After taking down Buffalo, the stage was set for the Bruins to play the Washington Capitals in the second round of the NHL Playoffs, but the Capitals blew a three games to one lead against the Montreal Canadiens and the Bruins ended up playing the Flyers.
Then, last year, the Bruins and the Capitals were in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs and were poised to play each other for the right to go to the Stanley Cup Final, but the Capitals were swept out by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Now, despite the struggles of the Capitals all season long, the first Bruins v. Capitals series since 1998 is finally upon us. I’ve waited three years since coming here for this series to happen, to root against all my friends who “Rock the Red” and cheer on the Boston Bruins to victory. If you didn’t think I was doing a running diary of this series, you clearly don’t read the blog enough.
Here’s what transpired:
After the jump
6:40- Welcome live to Potomac 448! Right now it’s just me sitting here watching Sportscenter and random Bruins related Youtube videos to get myself amped for the game. A text from co-host Ryan Sullivan read “If we’re watching the game here, we might need to get more beer”. I checked the fridge:
OH GOD NO!
6:42- For someone that just expressed a fear of lack of sufficient beer for hockey watching, Sully isn’t doing a very good job picking up his phone.
6:46- Another no answer. Sent a text reading “PICK UP YOUR PHONE! IT CONCERNS HOCKEY, BEER, AND PIZZA!” If he doesn’t call or pick up after that, nothing will.
6:57- Darren Rovell just reminded us all on Twitter that new CBA negotiations for the NHL is coming up. Last time those happened, the Bruins were the number two seed in the Eastern Conference, were a favorite to win the Eastern Conference, blew a three games to one series lead, and lost the next season due to lockout. These are the things a Bruins fan thinks about even after winning a Stanley Cup. It’s like ingrained into us.
7:00- Versus NBC Sports just responded us that Braden Holtby is starting in net for the Washington Capitals. I’m a lot more confident.
7:01-Doc Emerick just tried to convince fans that the Bruins goalie situation for Boston was “Not much better” than the Capitals because the back-up goaltender for the Bruins, Tuukka Rask, is recovering from injury. I don’t think that Doc believed is own words.
7:03- NHL Live just said Braden Holtby did breathing exercises today to go to “a place for Serenity”. I feel so much better right now.
7:55- Sully and myself just went on an adventure around Fairfax for the previously mentioned “Hockey, Beer, Pizza”. Traffic just made a 10 minute trip take 30 minutes and missed Rene Rancourt, and the first ten minutes. Dammit.
8:01- Holtby almost lets one sneak through the five-hole. Want a way to kill a kids confidence? Sneak a ****** goal through. Also figured out that we do not owe any Bruins Power Play Beers.
8:04- Something wrong with Bergeron? He just fell, then stumbled across the ice while trying to push the puck. Someone check his skates. In other news, the Capitals are going on the power-play for a boarding. It’s the right call. Here we go.
8:06- Sully- “Somehow we had a better powerplay than the Capitals”. I was surprised by that too. I guess having “more talent” as the CSN announcers say doesn’t really make a better powerplay does it.
8:08- Why is it always Danny Paille who gets into AWESOME shooting situations? Bruins force a steal on the fore-check, get it into open ice and… its Danny “Stonehands” Paille looking to put the puck into the back of the net. Dammit. Still no score.
8:13- Hitting picks up. Alex Ovechekin gets laid out by Dennis Seidenberg in the corner as more hits start piling up. Bruins just can’t win the pucks in the corner and can’t start anything
8:16- Jay Beagle cross checks someone in the face and the Bruins pick up a 4:00 minute power-play. Hopefully we don’t go -1-33 before scoring a PP goal this post-season. You also know what that means.
8:18- A couple of clears from the Capitals and the period ends. Overall, the period doesn’t really favor anyone. The Bruins got better chances, but not that much more. They couldn’t really set up because for some reason the Capitals won nearly every puck in the Bruins’ offensive corner. Yeah, I’m just as confused as you. Thankfully, Thomas hasn’t really been challenged yet. Thank god for the Bruins defense.
8:20- While the “Ticket Oak” commercial may be strange and such, I would do almost anything to have a magical tree that spawned tickets at any time for whatever event I wanted.
8:28- Sully is enthralled by the fact that our beer glasses cause the beer to “fizz” or the basic collection of hops around the ridges of the glass. He doesn’t understand it and he is just staring at it. He hasn’t even finished a beer yet. I think something is wrong with him.
8:34- Second period starting and the Bruins are on the power-play for 2:27. Can we PLEASE get a power-play goal.
8:36- A couple nice chances for the Bruins right in the beginning of the period. A couple point bombs but nothing get’s by Holtby. The last thing we need is to let the kid get confidence.
8:38- Bruins have a fantastic power-play but can’t get one by Holtby. Thankfully, the Capitals commit a delay of game which means more power-play fun.
8:40- Will has joined us. He’s already being annoying.
8:41- Bruins essentially fail to score on a six minute power-play. Things are already off to a 2011-esque situation. In other news, major collision between Seidenberg and Ovi near center ice. Game is physical which favors the Bruins, but again, the board play is still favoring the Capitals.
8:47- Action goes up and down. Exciting play both ways but still no score. I get the sense that the longer this game goes scoreless, the more it favors Washington. It reminds me of the last game these two teams played. Not good.
8:52- Bruins get a chance on the door step…. and it’s Danny Paille. See? The “Theory of Danny Paille” never fails. Still no score.
8:56- Krejci runs Holtby, Holtby falls down. Carlson steps in to protect Holtby. Everyone gets a penalty. 4 on 4. More importantly, does this count as a power-play beer?
8:58- Pou-Pou steals the puck, Holtby takes a bad penalty. NOW IT’S time to drink a power-play beer.
9:00- FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CAN WE SCORE A PP GOAL!
9:01- We are seriously having debates about how many beers we owe right now. The Bruins power-play has been that depressing.
9:04- I…just…want…to…score…a…goal. Is that so hard? By the way, the last play that Pou-Pou made going up and down the ice to fight for a puck in the corner might be the most work that Pouliot has done this season. He’s grown so much.
9:08- Marcus Johansson can’t catch a break. He’s taken like five pucks to the upper-body and the last one was just an unlucky redirection.
9:11- End of the second period. Still no score. I don’t like this at all. Braden Holtby is…um… playing really well.
9:18- We’re talking about a potential formal for our fraternity. Sully: “If we could get open-bar that would be great because I love open bar”. The man acts like he’s the only one that loves open bar.
9:28- Third period. For the love of god can we get a goal soon or I will be in pillow holding mode.
9:35- They’re calling THAT a cross-check on Chara? Don’t they realize this is playoff hockey?
9:36- TIMMAY! Huge save on the power-play.
9:38- I can live with the 2011 style power-play if we can have the 2011 version of Tim Thomas.
9:40- The last few minutes of Capitals chances I think just stopped my heart.
9:44- Sully: “ANOTHER ******* BLOCKED SHOT GOD DAMMIT!” My thoughts exactly. They have like 30 blocked shots or something.
9:46- Thank god our defense is in the perfect sports tonight. The Capitals have had a bunch of juicy rebounds, but the Bruins defense has been in perfect spots for the clear.
9:49- I might have a heart-attack. God I missed playoff hockey.
9:50- If I started watching hockey today, I would swear that Braden Holtby is the greatest thing ever.
9:55- The Washington Capitals have blocked 20 shots. Two things about that. 1.) It feels like a lot more than that and 2.) We would have like fifty shots on goal if it wasn’t for their ******* defense. 5:45 to go. Still no score.
9:58- What a move by Chris Kelly to get a chance down low but SOMEHOW the Bruins can’t put it away.
9:59- I never thought I would say this, but I think we might miss Michael Ryder.
10:03- If every game is like this, I’m not going to make it.
10:08- Overtime: I got Kelly if it’s Boston and Johnansson if it’s Washington. Sully has Marchand and Johnansson. Brower has Krejci and Backstrom.
10:26- Turnover by Capitals, break-out, Kelly in transition GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That was the game the Capitals had to have. The Bruins had more chances, more shots, more almost everything, but Braden Holtby and the Capitals defense stood tall all night. They made every save, blocked almost every shot and gave the Bruins a game. When the third period came along, both teams went up and down the ice, getting shots on goal and just missing out on juicy rebounds.
It was obvious it was going to come down to a breakout. These type of games don’t come down to good offensive sets. They never come down to great offensive possessions, they come down to lucky bounces and breakouts. When the breakout started for the Bruins, you just knew something nice could happen, and when Pouliot dropped it to Kelly, there was that sense that the Bruins might just have a chance to win the game. Holtby came out, Kelly found his spot, and fired the slapshot home.
Now, the game that the Capitals had all the chances in the world to win, is the one the Bruins take home and take a 1-0 lead in the series. That’s how you get it done. It’s what championship teams are made of.
In previous years, this is the type of games the Bruins would have lost. I guess all it takes is for one Stanley Cup for things to change.