April 14, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) controls the puck as Washington Capitals left wing Alexander Semin (right) defends during the first overtime period in game two of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
Washington has tied the series, but with more offensive pressure and the continued play of Tim Thomas, Boston can still remain in control.
A Washington Capitals victory evened their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Boston Bruins at one game a piece, and Game 2 was another a tight, defensive match. Nicklas Backstrom's double-overtime goal proved that just one bounce in either direction -- in this case, a failed Johnny Boychuk clearing attempt -- can swing a game.
That doesn't mean the Caps have the upper hand, however.
The Bruins pressured much more in Game 2, something they will have to do more in order to win the series, as Washington has shown a commitment to playing defense more than any other time this season. Considering they are going with a goaltender without NHL playoff experience in Braden Holtby, the Capitals have covered their own end against the normally aggressive Bruins. The Caps have been best at keeping Boston from establishing presence down low and in the crease. It's taken Boston out of their comfort zone.
With a 1-0 lead in the third period, the Caps continued to protect Braden Holtby, but the B's started to come out and shoot more. The more pressure they put on Washington, the deeper in the zone they were able to get. As a result, Boston tied the game. The Bruins continued the pressure and shots on net, and forced the game into overtime with the majority of shots and chances.
The difference-maker is that the Bruins are used to this kind of game. They know how to play low-scoring, defensive matchups. On the other hand, the Bruins will need to get better on pressuring and pressuring early. Holtby seems to get more comfortable as the game goes on, but the Caps are primarily built as an offensive team with a defense that's shaky, no matter what style they choose to play. Considering the fact that Washington is playing the game that Boston knows better, the Bruins can afford to put on even more pressure earlier in games.
Because the B's are playing a more one-dimensional team, they are capable of forcing the Caps to be more offensive. If the Bruins score earlier, the Capitals will have to commit to a more offensive game, seeing as just "one lucky bounce" won't get them a win or keep them in the game. Washington only has one "shutdown pairing" in John Carlson and Karl Alzner, and one scoring line that has produced results. If Boston continues to force this scenario, the Caps are more vulnerable on the backend, and the Bruins can take over.
This series is similar to last year's first round, where Boston was down 2-0 in the series to the Montreal Canadiens. While the Bruins are tied, 1-1, in the series, they are still somewhat in control of the series in terms of style. Last year, the B's had Tim Thomas stealing games. He's doing his best, but now if the offense steps up in Game 3, Boston could take full control of this series.