The Washington Capitals ended the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup defense with a stunning 2-1 overtime win thanks to Joel Ward's tally 2:57 into the extra session in Game 7 of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series at TD Garden.
It marked just the third postseason series win for Washington since a run to the Stanley Cup finals in 1998.
Wards, who was a playoff hero for Nashville last spring, a stellar performance that earned him a four-year, $12 million contract with the Capitals, pounded home a rebound off a Mike Knuble strike that Bruins goalie Tim Thomas stopped to give Washington the win and series victory.
The defending Cup champion Bruins, who came into this series as the second seed in the Eastern Conference after winning the Northeast Division, had a chance to salvage their campaign in the first minute of the extra period, but Patrice Bergeron failed to beat Caps red-hot rookie goaltender Brandon Holtby
The Capitals countered two minutes later, with former Bruin Knuble leading a 2 on 1 charge, crashing the net to get a backhand off Thomas.
The seventh-seeded Capitals, who barely made the playoffs after finishing atop the Eastern Conference in each of the previous two seasons, got on board 11:23 of the opening stanza courtesy of Matt Hendricks.
Holtby, a third-stringer who made his playoff debut because of injuries to Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth, saved 31 of 32 shots as he outdueled Thomas, the reigning Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
The heads-up performance of Holtby enabled the Caps' 22-year-old backup netminder to become the fourth rookie goalie to win a Game 7 on the road in overtime. Holtby posted a 2.00 GAA along with a .940 save percentage in his first-ever playoff series.
Tyler Seguin, who helped keep the Bruins' playoff hopes alive with his gritty OT goal in Game 6, provided Boston's lone offense in Game 7, while Thomas made 25 saves in defeat.
Boston became the second straight defending champion to be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Chicago was knocked out by Vancouver last season.
- Capitals Hold Off Rangers to Force Game 7
- Devils Bounce Flyers, Advance to Stanley Cup Conference Finals
- Morris and Hanzal Goals Lift Coyotes Past Predators
- Staal Overtime Goal Lifts Rangers over Capitals in Game 5
- Devils Defeat Flyers 4-2 on Brodeur's 40th
- Kings Advance to Western Conference Finals in Sweep of Blues
- Mike Green's Late Power-Play Goal Lifts Capitals Over Rangers
- Coyotes Blank Predators, Take 3-1 Series Lead
- Kings Thump Blues: Take Commanding 3-0 Series Lead
- Devils Earn 4-3 OT Victory Over Flyers
- Rangers Win 3 OT Thriller Over Caps
- Third Period The Charm For Devils in 4-1 Win Over Flyers
- Alex Ovechkin Nets Winner As Caps Knot Series with Rangers
- Kings Continue Road Success Blitzing Blues
- Briere OT Goal Lifts Flyers Past Devils 4-3
- Rangers Take Opener from Capitols
- Stanley Cup Conference Semifinals Now Set
- Rangers and Devils Advance After Game 7 Wins
- Joel Ward OT Tally Sends Caps Past Bruins in Game 7
- Devils Force Game 7 vs Panthers
- Gritty Lundqvist, Rangers Force Game 7 vs Senators
- Stoll Scores in OT as Kings Send Canucks Packing
- Flyers Finish Off Penguins with Rout
- Blues Use Third-Period Flurry to Oust Sharks in First-Round
- Senators Stun Rangers Again in Game Five
- Coyotes Forward Raffi Torres Slapped with 25-Game Suspension
- Fleury Stops 24 Shots, Penguins Stay Alive vs Flyers
- Predators Oust Red Wings from Playoffs
- Brodeur Bounces Back: Devils Goalie Nets Another Playoff Shutout
- Torres Suspended Indefinitely After Knocking Out Hossa
- Daniel Sedin's Return Sparks Canucks Past Kings
- Penguins Erupt for 10 Goals, Stay Alive With Rout of Flyers
- Coyotes Top Blackhawks in OT; Hossa Hospitalized After Hit
- Lundqvist Shines as Rangers Top Senators for Series Lead
- Rinne Stops 42 Shots, Predators Edge Red Wings for 2-1 Series Lead
- Flyers Punish Penguins to Take Commanding 3-0 Lead
- Caps Edge Bruins, Knot Series 1-1 Behind Backstrom's 2OT Tally
- Dustin Brown Sparkles as Kings Top Canucks for 2-0 Series Lead
- Hanzal OT Tally Lifts Coyotes Over Blackhawks for Series Lead
- Ryan Callahan Leads Rangers Past Senators in Series Opener
- Dustin Penner Helps Kings Topple Canucks in Series Opener
- Braden Holtby to Start in Between Pipes for Caps vs Bruins
- Canucks Win President's Cup Enter Stanley Cup Playoffs as Top Seed
- Flyers Losing at Game of 'Slots'; Big Body Needs to Step Forward
- Flyers Blueline Gets Lift with Defenseman Pavel Kubina
- Top 10 Cities With the Most Sports Championships
- Flyers Youth Movement is a Winner
- Maple Leafs GM Burke Yearns for Old NHL, More Fights
- Police Looking for Flyers Fans Who Attacked Rangers Fans
- Rangers Edge Flyers in Winter Classic
- Canucks Colluding on Another Shot at Stanley Cup
- Everyone Knows Claude Giroux's Name in Philly
- Radim Vrbata Keeping Phoenix Coyotes Near Top of Pacific
- NHL Adopts Four Conference Realignment Plan
- Forbes Lists Maple Leafs as Most Valuable NHL Franchise
- Red Wings Ageless Wonder Lidstrom Keeps Team On Winning Path
- Maple Leafs Forward Phil Kessel Out in Front in NHL All Star Voting
- Defending Stanley Cup Champ Bruins Back in Title Form With 10-Game Winning Streak
- Flyers Chemistry Helping Team Take Off
- Montreal Canadiens Hopes for Big Season Riding on Goalie Carey Price
- CBC Distancing Itelf from Don Cherry's Over Hockey Fighting Comments
- Penguins Put Sidney Crosby on Injured Reserve to Start Season
Copyright © 2012 AHN - All Rights Reserved