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“We know he’s a good goaltender. You have to give him credit, but I wouldn’t talk too much about him,” Bruins forward David Krejci said. “I think we just have to relax when we have a chance and just do what you do during the season. When you have a chance, don’t panic, just bury it, don’t think about. Think about the scoring chance and think about putting the puck in the net. Maybe we panicked too much I guess.”

It took an unbelievable snipe by Alexander Semin to get Holtby some much-needed goal support. On Washington’s third power-play opportunity of the game, he used a Zdeno Chara screen and played target practice by snapping one over Thomas’ left shoulder and into the top-right corner of the net.

Asked how many NHL players could hit that kind of shot, Laich deadpanned: “I don’t know. I’m just glad we have one that can.”

This performance, keyed by Holtby, ensures at least one more hockey game in the District this spring, and one more chance for chants of “Holtby” to fill the air.

Everyone knew how crucial this game was, especially recognizing the defending Stanley Cup champions’ killer instinct. So Holtby, who watched as the Bruins won it all last year, made sure they didn’t take a stranglehold on the series.

“Every time I’ve watched the playoffs, there’s kind of a burning in me, I think with every player, that they want to be there,” he said. “That they think they can get to that level. It’s just the start of the playoffs right now. I’m just trying to learn, try to improve and see how long we can go.”