7:30 p.m., TD Garden
TV: CSN, NBCSN | Radio: 1500 AM
Capitals win series, 4-3
Updates are in reverse-chronological order.
Postgame: With a seven-game victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins, the Capitals head into the second round of the playoffs for the second straight year.
We won't know the Caps’ opponent in the Eastern Conference semifinals until tomorrow night’s games. Here’s how it shakes out:
— If the Rangers beat Ottawa, Washington opens the second round in New York.
— If the Rangers lose and Florida wins, Washington opens the second round in Philadelphia.
— If the Rangers lose and New Jersey wins, Washington opens the second round in New Jersey.
2:57 OT: Joel Ward scores off a Mike Knuble rebound to push the Caps into the second round of the playoffs with a 2-1 victory in Game 7.
When the Caps signed Ward to a four-year, $12 million contract in the offseason, General Manager George McPhee said the winger’s best quality was how much he raises his game in the playoffs. After finishing the regular season with just six goals and 12 assists, Ward’s offensive production in the postseason hadn’t seen much of an increase. But his goal tonight probably makes up for that a good deal.
A lot of the credit for the game winner goes to Knuble, who was a healthy scratch for the first three games of these playoffs. The 39-year-old winger shot the puck on a 2-on-1 and then kept Thomas busy in the crease as Ward swatted in the rebound.
End 3rd: Caps PKers get it done, and we’re now headed to the fourth overtime of this playoff series. Why wouldn’t this game go to overtime?
That also makes it the seventh straight one-goal game (these teams already played six one-goal games for the first time in NHL history).
17:34 3rd: Chimera goes off for holding Boychuk in the offensive zone, giving the Bruins a crucial power play with just 2:26 remaining. Big two minutes coming up for Braden Holtby, who’s been a little shakier this game than previous ones.
13:00 3rd: Caps are unable to capitalize, as Seidenberg has a possibly game-saving block on Ovechkin’s best chance.
11:00 3rd: Caps get their first power play of the game, Bergeron with a hook on Laich.
7:00 3rd: Ovechkin has barely been on the ice this period, it seems. He’s played just 1:58. Line matching or defensive liability aside, seems odd to not have your top goal scorer on the ice more in Game 7.
3:30 3rd: Caps kill off the Bruins power play, now 0 for 2 in this game. Washington still hasn’t had a chance on the man advantage.
1:18 3rd: Hamrlik called for holding the stick, Caps’ PK gets back to work to start the third period.
End 2nd: Caps and Bruins are tied after 40 minutes, with Bruins leading in shots (25-13) and hits (25-20).
Ovechkin hasn't been much of a presence for the Caps, playing just 9:37 and taking only one shot.
14:27 2nd: Tyler Seguin knocks in a rebound to tie this game at 1-1. Holtby had the first stop on Boychuk but the rebound trickled by him.
13:30 2nd: It’s been a solid start of the game for Keith Aucoin, who on his last shift just denied Rolston on an open-net rebound.
6:16 2nd: Karl Alzner takes down Chris Kelly in front, and fans at TD Garden are very unhappy at the no-call. The refs are definitely letting them play to this point.
2:38 2nd: Ovechkin nearly made this game 2-0 but lost the puck thanks to a diving poke check by Thomas.
1st int: From Tarik: The Caps played a solid road period in the first -- strong defensively and made the B's pay for a bad turnover. In this series, the team that's scored first has won five times.
A couple of things to look for in the second period: Caps defenseman Dennis Wideman has struggled this series and isn't off to a great start; Bruins forward Tyler Seguin has a taken a game-high three shots and is flying tonight.
End 1st: Shots are 11-5 Bruins and the Caps will have to kill off 10 seconds of a power play to start the second period, but they’ve still got all the momentum after a strong opening frame.
Hendricks’s goal, by the way, ends Tim Thomas’s Game 7 shutout streak at 139:03 (1-0 win against Tampa Bay in the conference finals and 4-0 win over Vancouver in the Stanley Cup final).
— Let’s call this sequence Playoff Goal Hug in Motion:
18:10 1st: Brad Marchand draws a penalty as Jeff Schultz is whistled for tripping. Bruins get the game's first power play to close out the period.
11:23 1st: Matt Hendricks redirects a John Carlson shot from the point and Caps are on the board first, 1-0. Always good to score first, especially in this series — the first team to score has won five times.
Looks like the goal is still being credited to Carlson, but if it gets changed, that’s the first career playoff goal for 30-year-old Hendricks.
6:30 1st: Bruins have a 4-2 edge in shots, though they haven’t really made it tough for Holtby yet.
Here's a cool stat via Mike Wise, via Craig Laughlin: Coach Dale Hunter is the only player ever to end two playoff series with goals. Quebec-Habs '82, Flyers-Caps '88.
2:36 1st: Caps are buzzing. Chimera and Backstrom have both had good chances, and Ovechkin started his night off with a big hit on Seidenberg. Shots are 2-0 Caps.
0:42 1st: Game on, and fans at TD Garden are chanting “HOLT-BY” already.
7:07 p.m.: Jeff Schultz is indeed back in the lineup, while John Erskine will sit this one out. Here‘s how the lineup shakes out for Game 7:
5:40 p.m.: Big hockey game tonight, as you may or may not have heard. We’ve written a little bit about it, as you may or may not have read. If not, feel free to catch up here. There’s not too much more to say until the puck drops (7:42 p.m., to be exact), but I’ll be back with some lines after the Caps take warmup. In the meantime, comments are open as usual.