Bruins survive, advance to Game 7, which bodes calamity for Capitals
Zdeno Chara looked like the hapless extra in a Steven Seagal movie fight, Patrice Bergeron was playing with an "upper-body injury" that could have been a concussion, Brad Marchand had a bloodied mouth from a miscalculated Fosbury Flop and Tim Thomas looked just, well, pooped.
These and other excuses could have been summoned in a nanosecond by them and other Bruins partisans Sunday, at the rockin' red Verizon Center, where Capitals fans came wanting more metaphorical Bruins blood than just the big cut on Chara's nose from a second-period Alexander Ovechkin high stick.
Which is precisely why it had to be up to somebody like 20-year-old Tyler Seguin if the black (blue) and gold Bruins were to take this thing to a seventh game Wednesday night at the Gah-den. And so it fortuitously came for Claude Julien's otherwise weary men, when whippersnapper Seguin fully woke from a series-long funk and won Game 6 with an overtime goal in a 4-3 win -- the sixth straight one-goal difference in this great series.
Seguin, Boston's leading scorer in the regular season but goal-less entering Game 6, took Milan Lucic's crossing pass through Roman Hamrlik, made Capitals rookie goalie Braden Holtby commit for that crucially important extra second and buried a forehand wrister to finish it. This was not a "Can You Hear Me Now?" win at the Verizon for the Bruins. They survived this thing as much as they won it.
But nobody cares about statement games in the playoffs. Boston is getting another chance to play a Game 7 at TD Garden, the same place they won such postseason games last year against Montreal and Tampa Bay.
"A couple days off, get the Garden rockin', it's gonna be good," Seguin told NBC. "Looch just went wide and gave me a great pass. I feel like we have the experience advantage for (Game 7)."
If the Capitals lose this series, they will look back on this one with as many heartbreaking what-ifs as any in their rough playoff history.
If only Ovechkin's shot didn't hit the crossbar right after tying the game 3-3. If only Marcus Johansson had lifted the puck an inch on his second-period layup opportunity, instead of hitting Thomas' desperate stick. If only Nicklas Backstrom hadn't foolishly turned the puck over right to David Krejci, who then fed Lucic, who then fed Seguin for the winner.
But the Bruins could have had a few what-ifs too, like when Chara held the puck too long on an open-net chance early in OT, or when Bergeron hit the crossbar after a redirect of Marchand's crossing pass.
Seguin closed it down with his sensational goal, his spry young legs speeding by Dennis Wideman down the right side before freezing Holtby.
Probably the best thing to happen for the Bruins after their Game 5 home loss was to get another game fewer than 24 hours later. Older legs and all, Boston was able to harness the proper amnesiac effect from the quick turnaround.
No mention of the Boston win would be complete without salutes to Bergeron, normally the Bruins' money man in the faceoff circle but who took only one draw (a win) because of the aforementioned upper-body problem, and Andrew Ference -- who made his only shot on goal count for a 3-2 third-period lead before Ovechkin would tie it.
It's not like the Capitals choked, either. They played a fine game, Holtby included, and seemed to have karma entering the third period after Jason Chimera's tying goal at 19:18 of the second following a spinnerama flop by Marchand from a phantom Chimera elbow that got more air than chin.
But the Bruins' champion resolve won out. Now it's on to Wednesday, where the Bruins would seem to have all the advantages, given the teams' polarizing postseason histories.
But history hasn't told us much in this postseason. And that's what's always so great about the Stanley Cup playoffs.