Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Battle of the East - Round Three

After stealing the show - make that being the show - during All-Star Weekend in Montreal, Alex Ovechkin shared a plane ride with rival Boston Bruins Marc Savard and Tim Thomas en route to their Round Three showdown in Beantown.

Before we get to the action between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, I want to propose a toast to Coach Bruce Boudreau, who was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame yesterday - a much-deserved honor for a journeyman who spent most of his career in the American Hockey League before earning the NHL Coach of the Year award in his first year in the League.

So the Caps were back in action at TD Bank Garden in the frozen city of Boston, hoping to once again defeat the Boston Bruins to make it a "three-peat." The action started fast and furious with a Mike Green power play tally less than 3 minutes into the first period, courtesy of a Marc Savard penalty. Boston hasn't earned the top post in the East for nothin', and they tied the score with a goal from Shawn Thornton. This is HM's favorite kind of game, as the action was going from end to end in the first and second periods with lots of hard-hitting in between.

Michael Nylander scored on the Bruin's hot netminder Thomas, giving the Caps the advantage late in the first period. But Marc Savard showed us once again why he's having such a stellar scoring year with a "beast" goal against Jose Theodore. "Beast" is 13-year old hockey lingo for "awesome" - Just thought I'd try that one out in a post to see how it works...

I could feel Caps fans around the globe hold their collective breaths when Ovi went down hard (and stayed down, which is rare for the Great Eight) towards the end of the second period. Bruins' ginormous d-man Zdeno Chara hooked Ovi as he sped near the boards, causing him to crash shoulder first. He had the wherewithal to turn his head at the last second, but ever the competitor, he stormed into the tunnel while throwing off his gloves and helmet in frustration.

Thankfully, the hockey fairies were smiling on Ovi and he returned (with a vengeance) to the ice in the third period. Despite out shooting the Bruins throughout the contest, this nail-biter went into overtime.

Jose Theodore had another great game and put on a show with some spectacular saves. HM is all too familiar with the penalty box (my kids are never in there but I know some that are regulars - just kidding!), and unfortunately, it was senseless Caps penalties that once again lost them a game that should have been theirs. After Nick Backstrom took a hook that sent all 6'9" of Zdeno Chara sprawling into the net like some sort of large sea creature, David Krecji scored easily to give the Bruins a final 3-2 victory. One can't even say it was an ugly loss - just very dissappointing. Something about that cursed Boston ice...

So HM will be in the house on Saturday as the Caps take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. This one's another biggie which will go down in front of a sold-out home crowd. More on that match up to come...still smoldering over the Bruins loss.

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