CAPITALS at BRUINS
(Boston leads best-of-seven series, 1-0)
TV: NBC, CBC, RDS
Big Story: The Bruins are looking to sweep the opening games of the series at TD Garden, while the Capitals are trying to solve Tim Thomas and earn a split before the teams head to Washington.
Capitals: Washington played a strong defensive game against the high-scoring Bruins in Game 1, and rookie goaltender Braden Holtby was excellent in his first career Stanley Cup Playoffs start. Now the Capitals have to find some offense to supplement the effort at the other end of the ice.
Washington had seven shots in the first 40 minutes and only 17 for the game. None of those shots were from in close, and none were rebounds or deflections or anything that would make life tougher for Thomas. The Capitals did block a lot of shots and play a physical game, but that was in part because Boston dominated puck possession and controlled the flow of the contest for all but about 10 minutes in the third period.
Bruins: Boston's top defense pair of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg neutralized Alex Ovechkin, and the five guys who played mostly against Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin (David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Rich Peverley, Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk) kept that matchup a stalemate, so it was up to the role players. Chris Kelly delivered the winning goal in overtime after a nice play by both guys on the third defense pairing, Greg Zanon and Joe Corvo.
Thomas was solid, but should expect more of a challenge in Game 2. The fourth line was a little shaky, and coach Claude Julien expects the team to generate more offense. Despite a 26-7 lead in shots after 40 minutes, the power play needs to be better.
Who's Hot: Holtby has now allowed only eight goals in his past six outings for the Capitals, including four starts where he has ceded one goal or less. … Chris Kelly had a career-best 20 goals this season for the Bruins while anchoring the third line, and he is the only guy with a goal in this series after one game.
Injury Report: Goaltender Michal Neuvirth skated Friday for the Capitals, but coach Dale Hunter offered no updated timetable on his return. The Capitals are also without goalie Tomas Vokoun (groin) and defenseman John Erskine. … Krejci did not skate Friday for the Bruins after being knocked to the ice by a pane of glass during the team's postgame celebration Thursday. He said his neck was sore, but both he and Julien expect him to play in Game 2. The Bruins could still be without backup goalie Tuukka Rask and defenseman Adam McQuaid.
Stat Pack: Chara was present for 90 percent of Ovechkin's ice time at even strength in Game 1, and according to Capitals blog Japers' Rink, the most time Ovechkin was on the ice without Chara at even strength was 23 seconds. Ovechkin had one shot on goal (with Chara in the penalty box) and only one attempt at even strength (which was blocked). … Boston's Patrice Bergeron not only helped stifle the Ovechkin line with sound defense, he did so by winning 18 of 25 faceoffs, including 16 of 22 against Ovechkin's center, Brooks Laich.
Puck Drop: While the Capitals were able to keep Boston off the scoreboard for more than 61 minutes, their conservative approach didn't offer enough at the other end of the ice. When the game opened up a little -- Marcus Johansson carried the puck into the Boston zone and defenseman Dennis Wideman pinched to join him -- the Bruins struck on the counterattack.
Boston will be happy to keep the puck and try to break down Washington's compact defense, but the Capitals will also have to be wary of the Bruins' ability to transition quickly should they try to be more aggressive to create more offense.