It may have been the Bruins that introduced the concept of the twenty-link metal chain, an item given out to the most valuable player after every Boston victory, and a signifier that on the 20-man active roster, there could be no weak links.
In actuality, it was the Capitals who best demonstrated that principle.
For that reason alone, they advanced to round two.
For the record, you had…..
Braden Holtby, a guy who as recently as a few months ago was a mere afterthought, getting pulled from games in Hershey, who outplayed and outlasted the previously unbreakable Tim Thomas. Earlier in this series, Thomas mocked the way Holtby played.
Who’s laughing now?
The game-winning goal came on account off a rush from two guys (Mike Knuble and Joel Ward) who received the least amount of ice-time in game seven.
It took till game four for Knuble to make an appearance in this series, but boy did he show up.
For Joel Ward, a guy who after the game acknowledged that he hadn’t performed as well as he hoped offensively this season, all was forgiven.
Scoring only six goals in the regular season matters not when your first post-season goal comes in the most meaningful time possible.
No longer will Mr. Ward be in the Capitals dog house.
Last night’s other goal scorer was Matt Hendricks, a grinder over glamour guy who picked the most perfect moment possible for his first ever playoff goal.
In Washington’s playoff past, Bruce Boudreau once criticized his teams uneven play by stating the following: “We’re getting 13 and 14 guys every night rather than everybody coming to play. Tonight we had five or six passengers again.”
On a team with perhaps less raw talent than some of those previously coached by Boudreau, save Dennis Wideman, there are no passengers on the good ship Hunter. Everyone is buying in, everyone is doing the necessary things to win.
It’s a bond that as we saw this series is tighter than a boa constructer squeezing her prey. It’s a bond that has been proven with blood. Twenty men, one mission, one game.
You simply don’t want to play the Washington Capitals right now.