It’s finally playoff time in Boston again.
After an unbelievable Stanley Cup run last June, the Boston Bruins begin their quest for back-to-back titles on Thursday night at home against the Washington Capitals.
We’ll have updates from the TD Garden right here throughout the whole game, so check back frequently.
12:41 a.m.: If you’re looking for some postgame reading, here you go.
Thanks for following throughout Game 1.
Overtime, 18:42, 1-0 Bruins: That’s all she wrote. Chris Kelly breaks free in the neutral zone and fires a perfect slap shot from the left faceoff circle to beat Holtby for the game-winning goal.
I’m heading down to the locker room now but I’ll check in before the night is through.
Read: Bruins-Caps Game 1 Recap
Overtime, 20:00: And we are under way in over time. This is playoff hockey at its absolute best.
End third, 0-0: Welcome back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston. How would you like some sudden death overtime?
Sixty minutes weren’t enough to determine a winner, so we’re heading into the most thrilling overtime in sports. It could last 15 seconds, or it could go on all night. Now, officially, the next goal will win the game.
The Caps owned the third period, outshooting the B’s 9-3 and getting the better chances, but Thomas was in playoff form and stood tall (with help from Boychuk on one shot).
All that’s history now though, as it’ll take just one shot to win this one.
Third period, 1:33: We’re just a minute and a half away from sudden death overtime. One way or another, we’re all in for a dramatic ending here at the Garden. The Capitals have called their timeout after an icing. The Bruins now have an offensive zone faceoff with Lucic, Bergeron and Krejci up front.
Third period, 5:47: I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate: Thomas has been sharp tonight. He just stepped out to make a strong save on Backstrom, who’s been really quiet thus far. The Caps are clearly riding some emotion right now and have threatened this entire period. The building’s starting to get a little antsy, but Thomas’ big save woke up the crowd a bit.
Third period, 9:01: The B’s just got off their first shot of the period, a wrister from the blue line off the stick of Seguin. Bergeron was screening in front, but Holtby saw enough of the puck to make the stop.
The shot came after it appeared as though Marchand got tripped up, but there was no call.
Third period, 11:23: The Bruins’ dominance did not carry into the third period, as they’re still without a shot on net nearly midway through the final period. The Caps have a hop in their steps and have four shots and some good chances to show for it. But it’s still 0-0. It’s starting to look like it’s going to take a bounce one way or another to determine this one.
Third period, 14:39: The power play didn’t work out so well, as some tenacious defense and one timely save by Thomas kept the puck out of the net. There was one dicey moment, when the puck trickled through Thomas’ pads and scooted just wide of the post, but the B’s have dodged a bullet and built some momentum with the penalty kill on Chara’s penalty.
Third period, 16:48: Here comes the Caps’ best chance of the night, because Big Z is going to the box.
Chara was called for cross-checking, giving the Caps a power play.
Third period, 20:00: The Garden video boards says “It’s Noise Time.” It’s also winning time.
End second, 0-0: Like I said in the last post, this is a brilliant game if you love defense. The Caps mustered just two shots in the entire second period, while the Bruins were unable to solve Braden Holtby, who now has 26 saves.
It seems simplistic, but the first team to score looks like it could be the winner. That would especially be the case for the Caps. If the B’s hard work from two periods all comes crashing down on one shot from Ovechkin, it would be rather deflating. But if the B’s can finally bury one, their sheer domination over the first 40 minutes could lead some Caps to stop believing.
But remember, this is the playoffs, so that first goal might not come until quadruple overtime. I’ll be sure to provide some updates between now and then.
Second period, 1:25: The Caps finally generated some offense, but Thomas was up to the task. He now has just seven saves in nearly two full periods. Down the other end of the ice, Holtby’s stopped all 26 shots he’s seen. This is quite the show if you like defense.
Second period, 4:05: The Bruins’ power play is now 0-for-4. Sure, the B’s became the first team to ever win a seven-game series without scoring on the power play last year, but I’m sure they’d rather avoid a similar path this year.
Braden Holtby has 26 saves. His jersey number is 70. That is all.
Second period, 7:18: The 4-on-3 didn’t last long, as Holty get called for roughing Chris Kelly. The B’s are on the power play yet again.
Second period, 7:42: We’ve got some 4-on-4 hockey on the way, after a post-whistle scrum breaks out after Krejci knocks Holtby over. Krejci and John Carlson go to the box for roughing.
Second period, 8:23: Still not much to report here from the Garden, though Nathan Horton and Adam McQuaid have been spotted walking around the press level. Both were chatting with some folks and looking good, which is a nice sign.
Second period, 11:11: The Bruins continue to dominate play, but have nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. They do hold a ridiculous 19-5 edge in the shots department, but it will only take one from Washington to potentially make all of that work useless.
I haven’t said much about Tim Thomas, mostly due to the lack of shots, but he has been sharp, coming out of his crease to play and cover pucks, and answering all challenges the Caps send his way.
Second period, 14:24: The power play looked downright ugly on that one, with the B’s unable to generate any possession in the offensive end.
A highlight-reel hit just happened in the neutral zone. Seidenberg appeared to have a green light on Ovechkin, carrying the puck in front of the benches. But Ovechkin looked up in time to catch Seidenberg off guard, and Ovechkin leveled the big German. The home crowd loves hits, though, and the collision generated a loud response from a crowd looking for something to cheer about.
Second period, 17:31: The bad news is that the B’s couldn’t beat Holtby on that four-minute power play. The good news: They’re right back on the power play after Trow Brouwer shot a puck over the boards in his own end. He goes to the box for delay of game. The B’s really need a goal here.
Second period, 18:54: Braden Holtby just stopped three slappers, including onoe off the stick of Zdeno Chara. The kid’s been rather impressive thus far.
Second period, 0-0, 20:00: The second period is about to start. The B’s have 2:27 to try to net a power-play goal.
End of first period, 0-0: The edge in shots (9-5) and possession goes to the Bruins, but that doesn’t mean anything on the scoreboard tonight, as the two teams head into the first intermission in a scoreless tie.
The B’s power play looked like the one from the beginning of last year’s playoffs, as the unit was unable to generate any chances in the final minute and a half of the period. The PP will have 2:27 to work with when the second period begins, though.
First period, 1:33: The Bruins are now on the power play after Jay Beagle catches David Krejci with a high stick. Krejci was bloodied on the play apparently, as it’s a four-minute double minor.
First period, 4:26: The Bruins kill the penalty with relative ease. The Caps really had just one good chance, a slapper from the point with Brooks Laich screening in front, but Thomas somehow saw it and kicked it away. We’re still scoreless, and the B’s lead 9-4 in the shot department.
First period, 7:06: The Capitals get the first power play of the evening after David Krejci catches Dennis Wideman awkwardly in the corner. Wideman turned at the last second before contact, and Krejci followed through. It’s hard to call it questionable, considering the impact of Wideman with the boards, but given that Wideman was largely responsible for the bad contact, it’s just two minutes for roughing.
First period, 11:48: We have our first TV timeout of the evening. It’s been a pretty even game thus far, though the Capitals only have one shot to show for their efforts. Perreault made his way back on the ice, getting a nice scoring chance on his first shift back.
The Bruins are now giving credit to the BC hockey team for winning the national championship last weekend. The crowd approves, giving a warm cheer.
First period, 13:40: Marcus Johansson just got hit by a MAC truck. That MAC truck’s name was Shawn Thornton.
First period, 16:55: The Bruins are dominating possession early on, and it shows in the 4-0 shot total. Mathieu Perreault lay down on the ice for several moments after taking a Shawn Thornton wrister off the lower body. He just went down the tunnel in pain.
First period, 19:19: Braden Holtby aces his first test — a slapper from Tyler Seguin — for the first save of the game. After Holtby hangs on for the whistle, Brad Marchand gets in a mini-wrestling match with Mike Green. Keep an eye on that one as the night goes on.
First period, 20:00: The Bergeron line starts the game, and the 2012 playoffs officially begin for the Boston Bruins.
7:32 p.m.: The pump-up video is on the big video board, the sold-out crowd is already chanting “Let’s go Bruins!” and the teams are just seconds away from taking the ice. It’s playoff time.
7:27 p.m.: We’re just minutes away from puck drop now. Jay Miller is the former Bruin on hand to pump up the crowd, and the giant Spoked B flag is making its way around the lower bowl of the Garden.
7:15 p.m.: Here are your lines, based on warmups:
And your D pairs:
Chara-Seidenberg (Chardenberg for short)
The good news there for the Bruins is that Johnny Boychuk looks ready to go. Claude Julien said earlier today that Boychuk would be a game-time decision.
7 p.m.: The teams have hit the ice for warmups. Milan Lucic stopped by the benches to do a quick pregame interview. As expected, Anton Khudobin is out there instead of the still-injured Tuukka Rask. I’ll keep an eye on the lines to see if there’s anything noteworthy.
Follow Michael on Twitter @michaelFhurley