They say that defense wins championships.
And how can you say differently after looking at Tim Thomas' historic Stanley Cup run last year? The Bruins goaltender put up one of the most impressive defensive playoff efforts by a single player in the history of the sport.
Not just Thomas, but the entire Bruins team knows how important it is to hold up defensively and provide a solid backend to an already stellar goaltender.
In the start of the playoffs on Wednesday night, where two of the three games ended with late goals and momentum swings, the need for solid defense became even more apparent, as both of the teams who stole those goals went on to take the first game of their respective series--and one game is one game.
The Bruins hoped to continue the trend, mentioning that those late goals and momentum swings were a result of taking breaks during a game. Even if it's just a shift off or an unfocused moment, captain Zdeno Chara said before the game that those kinds of things can happen to you.
"I didn't watch the whole thing, but I saw that Pittsburgh was up, Philly came back and tied the game and then won it at the end," Chara said, "So, it just tells you that you have to play for 60 [minutes] and it's never over until it's over."
Well, sometimes you have to play a little more than sixty minutes.
The Bruins came out in Game One of their series against Washington and put up more than sixty minutes of shutout hockey as they entered into overtime on Thursday. Chris Kelly scored the game winning goal 1:18 into extra time, but the Bruins defense maintained control of much of the game, including control over offensive powerhouse, Alex Ovechkin.
"It was all five guys on the ice, and it was a good job putting on some back pressure on him when he gets the puck and trying to disturb him as soon as possible," defenseman Dennis Seidenbergsaid. "Try not to give him speed or time to make plays or get a shot off and tonight we did a good job and we have to keep it up."
The B's only allowed 17 total shots on net, including just seven between the first two periods, and Tim Thomas extended his playoff shutout streak to another full game.
But while defense has been the storyline of this series, the B's also have to remember their offensive power. Tyler Seguin had team-high five shots in the game, while teammate Rich Peverley registered four.
"I don't know, in the past when we've played good defensively we usually score quite [an] amount of goals and our first priority is not getting scored on," Seidenberg said in regards to more defensive minded tactics give less focus on scoring. "From good defensive posture comes good offense and that's what you saw with the last goal. We had a good gap, we turned the puck over and went on the attack."
Not only did the defense hold the Capitals to 17 shots, they also completely shut down Alex Ovechkin who finished the night with just one shot on net with 17:34 of ice time.
"I think it was nice that our guys did a good job against him, but I also have to give him credit," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. "He didn't back down. He played, and he played hard, and he knew he was going to be checked all night, and was going to be, you know, that we were going to have people on him as soon as he got the puck, and didn't have as much space as I'm sure he'd like to have, but I thought he played a decent game, you know, despite that."
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