Boston forward Milan Lucic overskated the puck on the half wall, allowing Jason Chimera to move it along to John Carlson at the point. The Capitals defenseman threw the puck on net as several bodies passed through the crease, where Hendricks redirected the shot past Thomas.
As they have throughout much of the series, the Bruins would outshoot the Capitals (32-27). But something about Washington’s simple game and dedication to minimizing mistakes while focusing on supporting Holtby seemed to throw the defending champions askew.
Capitals 2012 playoffs shot-by-shot
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“I think everybody’s made commitment, is buying into it,” Nicklas Backstrom said. “And we’re playing good hockey, I think. That’s the way you’ve got to play to be successful, I think, in the playoffs.”
Tyler Seguin evened the score at 1 with 14:27 gone in the second period when he fought off Karl Alzner and Carlson to swat a loose puck over the goal line. A shot by Johnny Boychuck had squeaked between Holtby’s arm and body, leaving the puck unprotected in the blue paint behind the netminder.
While the Bruins would have additional chances in the third period – and a quality scoring chance early at the start of overtime – they would be the team undone by one last bounce that didn’t go its way.
On the play that led to the game-winner, Knuble blocked a shot by Benoit Pouliot that sent the rush back in the Capitals’ favor. The veteran right wing carried the puck all the way to the net for a shot and as he crashed into Thomas, Ward found the rebound and made sure it made it into the back of the cage.
Where the Capitals can go from here — and even their next opponent, which could be the Rangers, Devils or Flyers, depending on the outcomes of two Game 7s on Thursday — remains to be determined, but knocking out Boston is a powerful opening statement.
“I think that’s with any team — get past the first, you’re on a high and you never know what’s going to happen,” Holtby said. “It’s a lot of work. There’s a lot of work to be had. This is just the start of it. We’re not going to let it soak in too much. We have a goal and it’s three more rounds from now.”