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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:20 am 
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WILMINGTON, Mass. (AP) At one end of the ice, playoff MVP Tim Thomas will be in goal for the defending champion Boston Bruins. At the other end, Braden Holtby will make his NHL playoff debut in the Washington Capitals' net.
That should give Boston a big advantage in Thursday night's playoff opener.
It also could be a trap if the Bruins are overconfident.
''Timmy's a great goalie,'' Boston forward Chris Kelly said Wednesday, ''but the minute you start thinking you have advantages over teams, I think you're setting yourself up for trouble. ... We need to be at our best in order to have success, regardless of who they have.''
The Bruins are seeded second in the Eastern Conference but were just 1-2-1 against the seventh-seeded Capitals this season. Holtby, a veteran of just 21 NHL games, played in none of those four. But he almost certainly will start Thursday night because of injuries to Tomas Vokoun (groin) and Michal Neuvirth (left leg). Vokoun didn't even make the trip to Boston.
The Bruins say they must remain patient and play their game but want to test Holtby early.
''We know he doesn't have a wealth of experience,'' center David Krejci said. ''We're going to put lots of pucks on him and try to make him nervous.''
It may not work.
"He's a calm guy,'' Washington defenseman Karl Alzner said. ''We just tell him that it's the same game, same as the regular season, and not to worry about it.''
Holtby, a fourth-round draft choice by the Capitals in 2008, started five of their last 10 games. He played in seven games this season, going 4-2-1 with a 2.48 goals against average. He made his NHL debut last season, playing 14 games with a 1.79 goals against average.
So he has reason to be confident.
''I'm just ready to go out there and do what I can to be successful,'' Holtby said. ''I'm not here just to wear a jersey. This is my goal to show that I can win games here, especially in the playoffs. And it's unfortunate with the injuries that we've had.''
That confidence extends to his teammates.
''I don't think he's too scared of anybody,'' left wing Jason Chimera said. ''He can handle his own.''
Holtby is just 21 years old. Thomas turns 38 on Sunday.
But the Bruins goalie hasn't changed much from last season when he had a 2.00 goals-against average and played in all 25 postseason games. He posted a 2.36 clip this season and started 55 games, the same number as last season.
''I don't think he's changed at all,'' Bruins coach Claude Julien said. ''He's a guy who still continues to thrive on challenges and always takes the negatives and turns it into a positive, and loves to prove people wrong. So, he hasn't changed.''
Nor have the Bruins. Their approach to the postseason after winning the Stanley Cup is the same.
''I know we're the defending champs,'' Kelly said, ''but ... this this is a new year and one thing I've learned is people quickly forget what's happened in the past. By no means do we think we're the heavy favorites.''
Especially with defenseman Mike Green and first-line center Nicklas Backstrom back with the Capitals. Green played in just 31 games while dealing with ankle and groin injuries and abdominal surgery. Backstrom, who had 14 goals in 42 games, returned on March 31 after a concussion sidelined him for nearly three months.
But a concussion will keep Bruins right wing Nathan Horton out of the playoffs. He's missed the last 36 games after scoring 17 goals in the first 46, and general manager Peter Chiarelli announced Wednesday that his season was over.
''He'd be improving and then he'd have some symptoms,'' Chiarelli said. ''They weren't huge symptoms but they would always come up at some point after three, four, five, six days of positive stuff. ... Sometimes it would just be a fogginess, sometimes he wouldn't feel right and sometimes there'd be a big headache.''
The Bruins are used to playing without Horton, although they were 31-12-3 when he played and 18-17-1 when he didn't. But they finished the season on a 9-3 run.
''You're going against the best from last year,'' Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. ''So it's definitely a challenge.''
The Bruins hope their playoff experience can help.
''There was no better feeling than ending the season the way that we did last year. So you want to do whatever you can to relive that moment,'' left wing Milan Lucic said. ''What we learned the most is we never looked too far ahead of what we had to do and that's our mindset right now.
''All our focus is focused on Game 1 and Game 1 only.''

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:47 pm 
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Caps draw first blood in Game 2. 1-0 after 2. Brawlage at the 20:00 mark! :okman:

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:41 pm 
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Moar overtime = moar free hawkeys!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:01 pm 
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Holy crap, the capitals just had a dominant powerplay in game 4 and failed to convert.. gonna regret that.

Holtby also let in the softest goal ever. Gaping 5-hole.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:43 pm 
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I think the Caps have turned the corner. I think they are going to win this series.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:47 pm 
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Jesus, Thomas just made a world class save. :aaaa:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:09 pm 
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I just can't get excited for the Eastern Conference series, with the exception for the Flyers/Penguins.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:14 pm 
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That was a nutty final minute, can't believe Washington held on

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:23 pm 
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drwoland wrote:
That was a nutty final minute, can't believe Washington held on


The person running the clock really knows what they are doing...

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:48 am 
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dmiles2186 wrote:
drwoland wrote:
That was a nutty final minute, can't believe Washington held on


The person running the clock really knows what they are doing...


No kidding...it must have been four seconds late starting. Those 9 seconds turned into 13. If they had scored right at the end...that would have been some controversy there.
LA scored and was awarded the goal even though the clock malfunctioned and gave them a few more seconds near the end of regulation. The NHL has set a precedent that that goal would have counted.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:41 am 
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Burnside's blog on espn had a statement from the war room in toronto stating that the clock was 5.4 seconds off, and any goal scored with less than 5.4 seconds on the clock would have been disallowed from the war room.

Sounds like they are keeping a good eye on the games and trying to prevent the problem that happened in LA from repeating.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:18 pm 
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Just finished watching this condensed games of this whole series.

Both goalies gave up softies throughout Game 3. The rest of the series, both goalies have been very good. Holtby is probably the best goalie the Caps have had for the playoffs in years and he is only playing because of injuries. Ovechkin is hitting like mad. Boston plays on the borderline of being dirty. Every time their are scrums after saves, they try to take shots at Caps players heads - particularly Backstrom.

This series is a toss-up right now. Really thought the Caps would be as bad as they have always been in the playoffs, but Dale Hunter has them actually playing defense. He has also adjusted their power play to force Boston not to just shadow Ovechkin, which is how other teams have beaten the Caps in the playoffs.

This one could easily go 7.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:48 pm 
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Oh man- Thomas wants that one back. That pretty much gives the Caps a 3-2 series lead.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:13 pm 
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Have to laugh at Marchand taking a really stupid dive, since it appropriately did not draw a call, which allowed Chimera, who he was trying to draw the call against, to score a goal.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:24 pm 
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And back to Boston for game 7 on Wednesday.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:38 pm 
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sseagle wrote:
And back to Boston for game 7 on Wednesday.


I have zero confidence in Washington winning game 7.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:08 pm 
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Well, curt, they're going into OT, so it's now officially a crapshoot who wins.

I am rooting for the Capitals. Their fans have suffered enough. Of course they'll probably lose, but I can hope...

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:24 pm 
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Bruins Eliminated...

on to tomorrow night!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Don't really care who won this series, except that I picked Boston. :doh:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:32 pm 
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not a single person picked WAS in 7. Very few people picked WAS at all. I picked them in 5. I need to make up for my CHI and DET picks. 8)

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