The Caps did it. It took seven games, an incredible performance from Braden Holtby, back to form play from Ovechkin, Sasha's snipes, but most of all, Joel Ward's clutch overtime goal to seal the win.
This was the first seven game series in which every game was decided by one goal. Both teams deserve credit for all their hard work, and I wish the Bruins success next year. The only people who predicted the Caps to come on top in this series were us, Caps fans. I mean, just look at these 'expert' predictions from nhl.com:
Well, would you look at that. Everyone predicting the Bruins to win. Also notice the Pens, Canucks and Hawks.
So, Game 7. What a thriller. Here's how it went:
- The Bruins outshot the Caps 32-27, and the Caps took three minors. This doesn't sound great, but hey, we won.
- Holtby was outstanding, again. This time he had a .969 save percentage. He's the reason we got this far.
- Matt Hendricks opened the scoring just after ten minutes, on a sneaky deflection off John Carlson's rocket.
- But the Bruins weren't going to give in, especially in front of their home crowd. Tyler Seguin scored a scrappy goal for his second of the series. Kid'll be a star, believe me.
- A scoreless third gave us the most thrilling thing in team sport. Golden Goal, Extra Time, Overtime... whatever you call it - you know it's all or nothing, all on the line. And that's where Joel Ward appeared in the crease, just three minutes in and whacked it in. Signed after his incredible postseason in Nashville last year, he was seen to be a clutch player. And clutch he was. It was over. The Caps won in seven games.
So, onto the Eastern Conference Semi Finals (Let's try not to have a repeat of last year...)
We'll find out tonight who we're playing, but here's the possibilities:
Ottawa beat New York + New Jersey beat Florida = 1) Ottawa vs Philadelphia
2) Washington vs New Jersey
New York beat Ottawa + New Jersey beat Florida = 1) New York vs Washington
2) New Jersey vs Philadelphia
Ottawa beat New York + Florida beat New Jersey = 1) Florida vs Ottawa
2) Washington vs Philadelphia
New York beat Ottawa + Florida beat New Jersey = 1) New York vs Washington
2) Florida vs Philadelphia
It's wide open!
Pre-series analysis will be up tomorrow.
Here's the radio call of that great moment.
LET'S GO CAPS!