Despite the loss I found it to be a really great game. The hitting, the "just missed" chances, and some of the saves just made for an outstanding game.
The game was sullied, and yes I'm biased, by the refs not calling some dives, I believe on Marchand, in the 3rd, as well as the roughing Semin took after getting hit by Lucic and two other Bruins well after the whistle had blown, the hooking of Semin, and the interference and roughing by Chara on Hendricks at the players bench, the last two in the final minute of the third. Add to it the fact that the refs didn't call a delay of game on Tim Thomas for covering and freezing the puck with no one around him and the Caps definitely got screwed over once the refs swallowed the whistle, which seemed to happen after the penalty on the Caps goalie who had already been run over at least twice and been smacked in the back of the head with a stick of a Bruins player...no I'm not bitter.
All that said, despite the Caps lack of offensive opportunities in the 1st two periods they did a great job of containing the Bruins and did the one thing they've been lacking in the playoffs and what felt like the latter part of the season which was block shots or stop them in front, despite the 30 put on Holtby during the game.
Holtby definitely rose to the occasion last night and will need to be just as good, or better, on Saturday if the Caps want to come back to Washington tied at 1-1. Outside of a few big rebounds and one playing of the puck that left the net wide open, Holtby was strong in net and the only reason the Caps remained in the game.
While you can throw the regular season statistics and records out the window once the playoffs start someone forgot to tell the Caps offense they could abandon the aspects of not shooting the puck and playing piss poor on the power play. As much credit as you can give the Bruins, a lot of the Caps ineptness falls more on their players.
While the power play struggled the Caps did hold the Bruins, who aren't very good on the PP at home, at bay by killing off all 5 opportunities including a 4 minute "high sticking" by Jay Beagle. Seriously though that PP may not be good but Lucic and Chara are big and powerful enough and Seguin agile enough get that group rolling at any time. While I expected the Bruins to cash in at least once I was pleasantly impressed and satisfied with the effort the Caps displayed on the PK.
Jay Beagle was my forward of the night till that 4 minute minor, that's the kind of penalty that will keep you from getting a sweater in the next game. Hello Mike Knuble please pick up the white courtesy phone. Also seeing Mathieu Perreault and Marcus Johansson come back from some hard shots to the ankle and head respectively earns them major props. Both of those little rag doll midgets have taken quite a few hits and pucks to the head, its like their is some kind of magnetic force or something. If either of them goes down you have to wonder if maybe they'll throw Mattias Sjogren on the ice, they could...they won't, but it would be an interesting debut for sure.
The toughest thing about the loss was that it was a bad transition goal where Dennis Wideman didn't get back or into position, but at least we didn't deflect it past our own goalie as we've done in the past. The opportunity for a save by Braden seemed like it would be one of the easier ones for him..alas it wasn't and the best thing to come out of it, besides the Caps going out on the ice to show their appreciation of his effort, was the glass falling David Krejci...that's what you get for going after Holtby early...that and roughed up by John Carlson *stick tap*
Hopefully Game 2 is as good and exciting as Game 1 was. I'm sticking with my Caps in 6 belief but they'll definitely have to get to Thomas, screen him and run his own guys over him. I also expect that there will be at least one fight as both teams are definitely getting chippy with one another and there is still some bad blood from their last two regular season meetings.