BOSTON | Everything the Washington Capitals built over the game’s first 37-plus minutes was gone in 28 seconds. Braden Holtby’s stellar performance was, at least for a few moments, drowned out by the deafening noise of a packed TD Garden.
Gone was the two-goal lead, the first either team had in this series, erased by the Boston Bruins with just over two minutes left in the second period. First it was Dennis Seidenberg’s blast from the circle, and then Brad Marchand’s rebound that trickled over the line.
“The first goal I would’ve liked probably to have back. I don’t know if it went us a little bit and kind of snuck under my glove. The second goal was just one of those goals that are going to go in. It’s a hockey goal. It’s a deflection and a rebound,” Holtby said. “Those things happen. I think if it would’ve been a goal that we really wanted back, I think it would’ve changed things.”
It didn’t deter TD Garden from rocking. Finally the Bruins looked like an imposing force and the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Boston had the ice tilted until the end of the second period.
“After their two goals they held the momentum,” forward Mat Hendricks said. “You could tell that they had tied it up and they kept the puck in our zone through pretty much the rest of period.”
But the Caps were saved by the horn. At intermission, they were able to regroup.
“I don’t think we hung our heads at all after those two goals,” Holtby said. “We knew that they’re a good team and they’re capable of it. It wasn’t a huge shock.”
Hard not to be shocked, though, by the quick barrage of offense. But intermission helped big time, as Troy Brouwer said it was a chance to “settle down.”
“It was tough,” Hendricks said. “But our leaders spoke up … and we were able to kind of tighten the screws back up and go to work.”
It said a lot about the Caps to not go into the tank after those deflating moments.
“The guys in there, the attitude was ‘Well, we let a couple in, that’s the way it goes.’ You get the lead and they come back,” coach Dale Hunter said. “So, it’s a pretty good hockey game to watch for people that just enjoy hockey.”
But behind the bench?
“[It’s] a little tougher to coach,” he said.