BOSTON - Two weeks ago, we didn't know if we'd see Nicklas Backstrom on the ice again this season. And Saturday night in Boston, he gave the Washington Capitals life in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, netting the game winning goal at 2:56 of the second overtime to give the Caps a 2-1 win, tying the series at 2.
Patrice Bergeron won the defensive zone faceoff for Boston, but Boston was unable to possess the puck and Marcus Johansson found an open Backstrom who roofed the puck short side past Tim Thomas.
Troy Brouwer scored Washington's first goal, a flukey shot that Thomas had covered before Benoit Pouliot bowled into him, pushing the puck over the goal line. But it was Pouliot who evened the score in the third period when a Brian Rolston shot took a funny bounce in front of Braden Holtby and the former Montreal Canadien chipped it into the top of the cage.
Through two games, Holtby continues to be the focal point of the series; he stopped 43 of 44 shots that he saw on Saturday after saving 29 of 30 in an overtime loss on Thursday night.
But the real story may be Washington's commitment to taking away the neutral zone from Boston, which hasn't been able to gain the attacking zone with any ease yet this series, save for a few rogue shifts in the middle of the first overtime Saturday, which produced some of Boston's best chances, yet they were unable to capitalize on the opportunities and take a 2-0 series lead to Washington.
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