The Boston Bruins have the most goals scored of any team in the third
period by a wide margin, but even more impressive is that they have
allowed fewer goals in that final frame than any other.
Bruins' goalie Chad Johnson makes one of his 33 stops
What does this mean? Standing alone it could
indicate many things, but when coupled with the fact that the Bruins
allow the least number of opening period goals and are into the top 10
in the middle frame, it means that they have the league's top rated
defense and get absolutely filthy goaltending.
doesn't matter who's in net, either, as both Tuukka Rask and Chad
Johnson together are probably the best one-two punch between the pipes
in all of hockey - so any Washington Capitals' fan that thought they
were catching a break drawing Johnson in Saturday afternoon's matinee
against the Bruins were apt to leave the Verizon Center disappointed.
And they did.
a while on Saturday afternoon, Caps' goalie Braden Holtby matched
Johnson's mastery against several point-blank Bruins' chances, the sole
reason that the teams went into the room sharing a scoreless tie at the
first intermission as the defense in front of him was slowly eroding...
crumbling apart shortly into the second, a Jarome Iginla breakaway goal
less than three minutes in triggering an avalanche of pucks into the
Capitals' net as the hard-working Bruins outclassed a devil-may-care
Washington squad 4-2 to clinch the Atlantic Division title.
potted a second goal later in the period, just 41 seconds after a Carl
Soderberg redirection of a Patrice Bergeron power play drive got past
Holtby - the Bruins scoring three goals in a five-and-a-half minute span
of the middle frame, then spending the remainder of the period shoving
the sluggish Caps around and using Holtby for target practice.
had two helpers in addition to his goal, the first a heads-up play on
the puck in the neutral zone after exiting the penalty box early in the
second, winning a race to the puck on the opposite side of the ice and
centering a pass to Iginla, who had split the Capitals' defensemen at
the blue line and raced in unopposed for his 29th goal of the season...
second an attempt to redirect a Dougie Hamilton drive on the
man-advantage in the third that instead slid right to a charging
Bergeron who neatly tucked the biscuit in behind Holtby.
between the two was his successful redirect and Iginla's tremendous
effort for his 30th of the year, a textbook follow of his own shot from
the right circle, the puck bounding into the high slot off of Milan
Lucic's stick and Iginla snapping a shot through Hotby's pads.
Capitals' did show some life toward the end of the second period -
perhaps aware of the Bruins' stifling dominance in the final 20 minutes -
and managed to push a rebound past Johnson with 10 seconds left in the
frame to close the gap to two goals, but it wasn't nearly enough against
Boston's collectively aggressive shut-down skill...
Chimera's goal at the end of the second was more a matter of Chimera
being in position to take advantage of a rare Bruins' miscue, Boston
blue liner Johnny Boychuk trying to tip a rebound toward Johnson to
freeze the puck against a heavy Capital's crush on the goal, but the
puck popped up in the air and the Caps' opportunistic left wing trickled
the puck past Johnson.
The Chimera goal at the end of
the second period seemed to energize the Capitals coming out of the room
for the third, finding an extra gear and operating in the attacking
zone - yet the Boston defense stayed true and disciplined...
when Washington's frustrated scoring machine Alex Ovechkin lined up an
open-ice cheap shot on Boston's Loui Eriksson to take a charging call,
the ice leveled out again and Patrice Bergeron's power play tip in made
it 4-1, the Caps' compete level trickled down to nothing.
Washington's goal in the final minute resulted from a bad Boston error,
this one by Johnson who stepped out of the crease to play a puck
sliding in from the left wing, but Johnson could neither clear the puck
nor get back to the crease before Evgeny Kuznetsov planted a tight angle
shot to make the score look a little more respectable.
the win, the Bruins tied a franchise record of eight consecutive road
victories and for the moment have leap-frogged the St. Louis Blues in
the race for the President's Cup - and Iginla's two goals tied him for
24th with Montreal's Guy LaFleur for goals in NHL history and gave him
30 goals for the 12th time in his 20 year career.
Capitals missed an opportunity to climb into one of the Eastern
Conference's two wildcard playoff spots, but instead remain tied with
four other teams with 80 points, but still on the outside looking in as
both Columbus and Detroit hold the tie-breaker with more regulation and
Both teams have a quick turnaround, the
Caps hitting the trail to Nashville and the Bruins traveling to
Philadelphia for Sunday tilts.