Washington Capitals 2, Boston Bruins 1 (OT) (WAS wins the series, 4-3)
Those Who Shined
1. Braden Holtby, Goaltenders, Washington Capitals
Wait a second, who is this guy? After appearing in just 21 games in his career, Braden Holtby was thrown into the fire of the ruckus TD Garden for game seven of a wild series with the defending Stanley Cup champions; and, he shocked the Bruins. Holtby stopped 31 of 32 snipes to hold one of the NHL’s most balanced offensive attacks to just one tally. This came just days after he surrendered four goals in a much less impressive showing, but he wouldn’t let that effort hold him back. Obviously, this victory facing elimination was huge for the Capitals, as they are known for their postseason let downs. Holtby will certainly be a name to watch as the second round begins.
2. Joel Ward, Right Wing, Washington Capitals
Joel Ward knows how to save his best hockey for the most intense moments of a postseason series. I mean, the guy failed to record a point in the first four games with the Bruins and then it all changed. Ward picked up a pair of assists in games five and six, and then topped it all off with the game-winning tally less than three minutes into the overtime period in game seven. You simply cannot script a better set of circumstances for such an excellent back-and-forth series — new faces on both the offensive and defensive end of the ice getting the job done.
3. Tim Thomas, Goaltender, Boston Bruins
The reigning Vezina Trophy winner did all he could to keep Boston’s repeat hopes alive, but he was outdone by Holtby. Thomas saved 25 of 27 shots, which lowered his goals against average in the series to just above two — a very respectable number in any typical NHL contest. Unfortunately for him, his team couldn’t come up with enough offensive firepower to back up his strong performance through the majority of the seven games. I’m personally still shocked that they were upset at the TD Garden — one of the better home ice advantages in the league.