Caps/Bruins: Because it's game 7
One of the most entertaining first-round series has been the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals, who will meet in Game 7 tonight to decide who moves on to the second round and who goes golfing.
Talk about drama. This is the moment those guys in both rooms have been waiting for all season. After six games, there aren't any surprises, there aren't and secret weapons.
If the Caps win, they'll have done so by winning on the defending Cup champs home-ice three times in four chances. If the Bruins win, they'll live to defend their Cup yet another day.
It's Holtby in the cage for the Caps and Thomas in the net for the Bruins. No surprise there, as both goalies have been fantastic in the series so far. With all the heroics the 22-year-old Holtby has provided for the Capitals so far, you have to wonder if the boy wonder can hold down the lethal Bruins one final time. For the Bruins, you hold out hope that this isn't the game that Alex Ovechkin runs wild and abuses Tim Thomas, as he did in sending game six to overtime.
For Dale Hunter, the Caps interim coach, a win probably means you have a job next year but a loss leaves no guarantees. While Claude Julien doesn't have that problem in Boston, a first-round defeat at the hands of the underdog Capitals wouldn't bode well in Boston.
Keys to the game:
1. Goaltending. If young Holtby falters in his first game seven, the Caps will be toast, as they don't have enough firepower to win a 5-4 game against Tim Thomas.
2. Special teams. The Caps powerplay awoke a bit late in the series, can they bury the chances they get or can the Bruins powerplay find their mojo and take
3. First 10 minute. If Washington can survive the first rush of the Bruins, who'll be playing in front of a racuous crowd at the TD Garden, they can allow their young goalie to settle in and make saves. If they get give up a couple quick goals the Bruins will go into a shell and ice the game.
Ovechkin. With just two goals in the six games so far, Ovie hasn't played up to expectations. He has a chance to be the difference maker in a decisive game, ala Claude Giroux in game six for the Flyers versus the Penguins, and put the Caps over the top because he should be the best player on the ice. I think he will be and he'll have a huge impact on the game tonight.
Prediction: 4-2 Caps