Caps ready to host Bruins for Game 3
Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 5:12 PMBRUINS at CAPITALS
(Best-of-seven series tied, 1-1)
TV: CBC, NBCSN, RDS2, NESN, CSN-MA
: The Washington Capitals
will try to steal control of this series, while the Boston Bruins
are trying to figure out a hot young goaltender.
Regardless of the score, the Boston Bruins
controlled the play for most of Game 1. Had the same thing occurred in Game 2, even a loss could have been dismissed as bad luck. But the Bruins did not control Game 2 for long stretches -- it was a pretty evenly-matched affair, as both teams had time with the puck and chances to score throughout.
The Bruins were expected to play strong defense, but they were also a high-scoring team during the regular season and that hasn't been the case through two games. Washington's compact system and commitment to blocking shots has left the Bruins with some visible frustration in the first two games.
Can Washington continue to play disciplined, defensive hockey for an entire series? There have been glimpses of this during Dale Hunter's brief tenure, but rarely back-to-back contests of such consistency like the Capitals have produced in the first two games of this series.
is on track to be a breakout star if continues to play this well. Boston isn't alone in needing more offense -- Washington has to find more as well -- but the Capitals have to be satisfied with how the start of this series has gone away from Verizon Center.
Right now, it's the goalies. Holtby and Tim Thomas
are tied for the playoff lead in goals-against average at 0.83, with Holtby also tops in save percentage (.973). Jonathan Quick of the Kings follows at .965 and then Thomas at .964 is third.
Boston's normal backup goalie, Tuukka Rask
, came to Washington with the team but isn't ready to return to active duty. Defenseman Adam McQuaid
did not make the trip. One of Washington's injured goalies, Michal Neuvirth
, practiced Sunday, but the other, Tomas Vokoun
, did not. Hunter did not divulge if Neuvirth would dress for Game 3, but did say that Holtby "is our goalie."
There have been four goals scored in the series -- there have been at least four goals scored in five of the past six periods of the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh series.
The Capitals have blocked 49 shots in two games, which is 10 more than anyone else. They are also getting contributions in that department from surprising sources. Alexander Semin
blocked a Zdeno Chara
slap shot during the first overtime Saturday -- which surprised even teammates.
"He got a few pats on the back after the game," Mike Green
said. "That's what we need. The guys on the bench see that. Alex isn't always one to do that, but he showed that he can do that and he's willing to do it. It brings us all up."