Let’s take a look at some of the games between the Caps and Bruins in recent memory:
* There was the game where the Caps clung to a 1-0 lead and then prodceeded to parade to the penalty box in the second half of the second period to lose 2-1.
* There was the game that Alex Ovechkin had a hat trick in the first period and the Boston goalie was pulled not once, but twice in a 10-2 Caps win.
* There was the game where Nicklas Backstrom took a penalty in overtime and David Krejci’s cross-ice pass attempt hit Shaone Morrisonn and went in his own net.
This afternoon topped all of those games. Not only did the Caps score a goal from behind the goal line (Tomas Fleischmann tried to hit Alex Ovechkin with a pass and instead he hit Dennis Wideman’s skate and then the back of the net), but then Alexander Semin scored the game-winner from about 70 feet away — beyond the offensive blue line.
Semin, through Ovechkin, said he was tired and wanted to go to the bench for a change. This is a bit conspicuous because overtime was 22 seconds old. Yes, he was on the ice at the end of the third period, but still, Semin averages more than a minute per shift on many/most nights.
The shot took off like a rising fastball and fooled Boston goalie Tim Thomas.
“That doesn’t happen very often,” Thomas said. “I mean that was one of the luckiest shots I’ve ever seen. I mean, it was about three inches off the ice until about half way to me and then it just started to lift and I missed it, or I got a good piece of it. What originally started out as a pad save turned into a glove save and I kind of missed it. … From that far away I should have it anyways, but I really don’t expect that kind of stuff to happen.”
Bruce Boudreau’s thoughts on why Semin shot the puck were pretty funny.
“I have no idea,” he said. “Nine times out of 10 he’ll try to deke four guys before he shoots it [in the zone], so that’s a blessing.”
The Caps finish the season series 3-0-1 against the Bruins. Yesterday guys on the team talked about what it would to be 3-0-1 against the conference-leading Bruins, and a couple of them said it would be a psychological advantage for Washington should these two teams meet in the Eastern Conference finals.
Well, in the most interesting development of the day Boston coach Claude Julien isn’t buying what the Caps were selling.
“I’ve heard them say that they think they’re in our heads, and they do a lot of talking,” Julien said. “They obviously don’t do a lot of research, because, as I mentioned, I don’t think that really rattled us last year against Montreal when it came to playoff time. So, totally different thing. They’re one goal games, could have gone either way. If anything, it’s two good teams going at each other, but by all means, I don’t think that they scare us to that point.”
Julien is talking about how the Canadiens went 8-0 against Boston in the regular season last year and then watched the Bruins push them to seven games in the first round of the playoffs in a No. 1 vs. No. 8 matchup.
Boudreau tried to play down any advantage collecting seven of a possible eight points against the Bruins might have in say, mid-May, but this could be the start of a beautiful friendship, er, heated rivalry. And considering how wacky and unpredictable these games against the Bruins have been, there are probably plenty of people in both cities — and around the NHL for that matter — that are ready to see these two burgeoning superpowers go to war with a trip to the Stanley Cup final on the line.