The playoff are upon us, ladies and gentlemen. A time when every game has meaning. Every inch is fought for. And soon enough, there’s a chance that your next game could very well be your last (of the season). Is there anything better in sports? Just last night we witnessed some thrilling action from six clubs who were responsible for kicking off the NHL’s annual two-month long playoff party. The Philadelphia Flyers had yet another comeback for the ages after storming back from a 3-0 hole to take game one in Pittsburgh’s barn. The two Western Conference contests both came down to the final three minutes before a winner was decided, with the Predators and Kings eventually finding a path to victory. The best part of last night’s action? It was merely night number one of what will surely be two months of fantastic hockey.
— For the first time in 39 years, the Boston Bruins will open the second season as defending champions. They’ll do so on Thursday night against former Hart-trophy winner Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
Series: Tied 0-0
Location: TD Garden , Boston, Massachusetts
Time: 7:30 P.M. (EST)
Tonight’s Lineup (Subject To Change):
Scratches– ….. Mike Mottau, Jordan Caron
Nathan Horton (Concussion) – Boston’s top right winger was officially ruled out of the 2012 Playoffs by General Manager Peter Chiarelli during a press conference Wednesday morning.
Tuukka Rask (Groin) — The B’s back up goaltender has begun practicing with the team and is expected to be ready to return to action in advance of Saturday’s game two in Boston.
Adam McQuaid (Upper Body) — In what’s become one of the more unpredictable injuries of the season, Boston’s dependable blueliner will be forced to sit out Thursday’s game one with after “not feeling right” according to head coach Claude Julien.
Opposing Goaltender: Braden Holtby (7 GP/2.49 GAA)
Prediction: As the second season begins in Boston tonight, I’d expect the Black and Gold to come out strong in front of their home fans, and grab an early 1-0 series lead. Powered by a strong performance from Milan Lucic, expect Boston to edge out the Caps 3-1 in a game settled during the third period, with the B’s adding a late-game empty netter.
Capitals 1 , Bruins 3
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.