The Boston Bruins were frustrated throughout regulation against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. They held a 30-17 advantage in shots on goal, including a 17-2 advantage in the second period, yet somehow they could not find a way past third-stringer Braden Holtby between the pipes.
The 0-0 tie didn't last long in overtime, however. Tim Thomas made a foot save on a good look by Marcus Johansson, sending the rebound out to Brian Rolston, who gave the puck to Benoit Pouliot who gave the puck to Chris Kelly streaking down the left side of the ice. Kelly's slapshot from the top of the circle went just over Holtby's left shoulder to give the Bruins a 1-0 win and a 1-0 lead in their opening series of the 2012 NHL Playoffs.
The Bruins were in danger of losing their cool completely in the third period. They were outshot 9-3 during the period after 40 minutes of relatively dominant hockey. Holtby, just 22 years old, is considered a prime goaltending talent in his own right, but would not have been on the ice if not for injuries to Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth. He played spectacularly, however, turning back 29 of 30 shots faced.
Thomas earned shutout and the win, however, stopping all 16 shots faced on the night. The Bruins' defense did a great job keeping his jersey clean for the most part, though they faded late in regulation and in overtime. Still, holding Alex Ovechkin to just one shot on goal despite a full slate of minutes has to be considered a victory in itself.
The Bruins went 0-for-4 on their powerplay chances, which included a 4-on-3 for 1:36 midway through their second period onslaught. It will be interesting to see who starts in net for the Caps for Game 2 if Neuvirth is healthy. He traveled to Boston for Thursday's game, and may be ready to come back from a lower body injury. Holtby is clearly the hot hand right now, however.
For everything Bruins related, check out Stanley Cup Of Chowder. For more news, analysis, and discussion on Capitals hockey, head to Japers' Rink. You can also head over to the SB Nation NHL hub page for more on hockey news as the playoffs begin.