Apr 22, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Bruins center Tyler Seguin (19) scores the game-winning goal on Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) during overtime in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-US PRESSWIRE
The stars for both teams came out in a timely manner and made Game 6 the most compelling match this series, setting up for a climactic Game 7.
The series between the Bruins and Capitals has been an offensive struggle and was more of a faceoff between goaltenders heading into Sunday's showdown at Verizon Center. However, Game 6 gave both teams' big guns a chance to shine. While Boston came out the victor, both sides' performances were well-timed and badly needed to give their teams the best chance to win.
On the Caps' side, X-factor Mike Green had been struggling to contribute offensively. He also didn't have a good start to the postseason defensively, as he was the culprit of a number of turnovers in the Caps' end. He has picked up his game as the series has gone on, but much like the whole year since Dale Hunter took over, he was still lacking in production. Down 1-0 in Game 6, the offensive defenseman seemed to get his scoring touch back with a patient play and a blast from the high slot to knot the score.
The biggest moment for Washington came with 4:52 left in the game as the Capitals were down 3-2. Alex Ovechkin was pretty quiet on the offensive front, despite solid physical play away from the puck. The Caps' captain scored only once this series, which was expected with Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg on Ovechkin like white on rice. Hunter changed things up, putting Nicklas Backstrom on the same line with Ovechkin, yielding a goal to tie the game, sending the two teams to overtime. Probably the best time for a team's superstar to come around.
To regain the lead, though, the Bruins got their second goal on the power play, which was anemic due in part to the failure of David Krejci to get going. His blunder with the pane of glass in the second game of the series was funny at first, but then some had concerns that Krejci might not be all right after being unable to score or even get into position to score. The Bruins' third leading scorer finally got his first goal of the series with the man advantage.
The player who was struggling the most for either team came through in overtime to keep the Bruins alive. Tyler Seguin had the most shots in this series by an individual player, but to no avail. Expectations of Seguin -- Boston's top scorer this season -- to play more assertively finally came through, as he took advantage of the Caps' tired troops and sent this series to seven games.
With all the timely performances from both teams' stars, it sets up for a very interesting Game 7. Washington relied less on Braden Holtby toward the end of the game and more on its talent to win the game, while Boston gave pushing the Bruins' offense a shot since Tim Thomas was finally playing up to speed in net. Both teams may either continue or abandon these styles, but as those that needed to step up, will one of these players -- Green, Ovechkin, Krejci or Seguin -- be the hero for Game 7?