“The more we play each other, the more we hate each other.” – Brad Marchand
The above quote, courtesy of the Bruins’ resident agitator and Boston fan favorite, Brad Marchand just about perfectly sums up Monday’s game three between the B’s and Capitals. The animosity between these two Eastern Conference foes had reached a boiling point, and it was obvious to all that the intensity levels of the series had skyrocketed.
It was a seesaw contest at the Verizon Center on Monday, but in the end, the visiting Bruins were able to down the host Caps 4-3 on a late tally from captain Zdeno Chara.
Boston’s towering Slovakian defenseman let loose one of his patented backscratcher slapshots that found it’s way through Washington goaltender Braden Holtby with only 1:53 to play in the game.
“I just tried to put it on the net and keep it low. I think it was deflected off of one of their player’s stick and went in.” – Zdeno Chara
Things didn’t begin the way the Black and Gold had hoped for as they found themselves down a goal on two separate occasions during the game’s first twenty-one minutes. Russian enigma Alex Semin would be the first to get on the board – tallying the first opening period goal of the series – after firing a wrist shot through Tim Thomas amidst a late period Washington power-play.
The B’s would respond just thirty-five seconds into the middle frame when a Rich Peverley shot deflected off Holtby’s glove and into the Washington net. However, the Caps would immediately answer back on a slapshot goal from captain Alexander Ovechkin, a mere thirteen seconds after Boston had tied the score at one.
Hard work and grit would wind up championing the night in America’s capital city, as evidenced by Daniel Paille’s mid-second period goal in which he corralled a doorstep rebound and pushed it home to once again even the score at two.
“My goal was just a battle by Soupy (Gregory Campbell) and Thorty (Shawn Thornton) in the corner and then got the puck to Zans (Greg Zanon) and Zans shot it right away and me I had a ton of time in front of the net so I thought I’d make a move and I had a wide open net so it was nice to go in.” – Daniel Paille
Another bit of quick-strike offense would benefit the visiting Bruins when wily veteran Brian Rolston dug the puck out of a net-mouth scrum and shoveled it into the Capitals’ net only sixty-two seconds into the third and final period.
The Caps would certainly not go down without a fight, especially not in their home building in front of 18,000-plus screaming fans all decked out in red hockey apparel. With exactly six minutes left in regulation, the Capitals evened the score at three after Brooks Laich would take advantage of a rare lapse in coverage from the B’s otherworldly defenseman (Zdeno Chara) and beat Tim Thomas on a breakaway.
Boston’s 6’9” captain would quickly atone for his mistake, picking up the game winning goal just more than four minutes later and lifting the B’s to a 2-1 series lead.
– The Bruins’ ability to remain composed and keep a high level of confidence through the events of allowing a game-tying tally with just six minutes left on the clock and of being forced to play from behind a mere thirteen seconds after evening the score for the first time is truly impressive. Teams that can withstand the pressure of adverse moments are the ones who will make deeper runs into the postseason. The B’s certainly proved that ability during last year’s Stanley Cup run, and Monday’s win went a long way to helping the 2011-’12 Bruins squad form their own playoff identity.
“It’s very important (To stay composed) . This is a battle tested team that’s been through just about every situation possible. When you get into those situations, cooler heads prevail and you just have to continue on with what you do. That’s what we did and we came back with another big goal.” – Brian Rolston
Ben’s Three Stars:
2) Brooks Laich (1 Goal/2 Assists)
3) Chris Kelly (1 Assist/Plus-2 Rating)
Series: Boston Leads 2-1
Next Game: Thursday April 19, 2012. 7:30 PM. Verizon Center, Washington, DC.
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. 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.