Caps end Bruins' season with 2-1 overtime win

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Caps end Bruins' season with 2-1 overtime win

BOSTON -- Joel Ward played the role of villain in Boston on Wednesday night.
The Capitals winger knocked home a rebound just three minutes into overtime of Game 7, giving Washington a 2-1 win, ending the Bruins season in the first round of the playoffs, a year after winning the Stanley Cup.
The game-winner came as a result of a Bruins turnover on an attempted dump-and-change from the neutral zone. But Benoit Pouliot's slap shot was blocked by Mike Knuble, who then skated it into the B's zone on an odd-man rush.
Tim Thomas made the initial save on Knuble as he took it hard to the net, but Ward came over and quickly put home the rebound, ending Boston's season.
BruinsTalk: See what the Twitter-verse is saying about the B's loss
Tyler Seguin's goal in the second period was the reason the game went to overtime in the first place. Seguin put his body on the line to tie the game at 1-1 with 5:33 left in the second period, as he dove into the crease for a loose puck that somehow snuck under the arm of Braden Holtby after Johnny Boychuk blasted a slap shot from the top of the right circle.
The puck sat in the crease and Seguin wanted it more than anybody else apparently, as he dove in and poked it into the open net.
The Capitals went into the second period with a 1-0 lead, thanks to Matt Hendricks' re-direction of a John Carlson shot from the right point that beat Thomas low to his blocker side with 8:37 left in the first period.
Washington scored first, and then scored last, sending the Bruins home much earlier than expected.

GOLD STAR: Tyler Seguin had seven shots on net, scored Bostons only goal and put together his best full effort of this years playoffs just as things were ending for the Bruins. That gave Seguin three points and two goals in his last two games, and puts a better punctuation mark at the end of this seasons sentence than where things were headed when the 20-year-old had been scoreless through the first five games of the postseason. The best part: Seguin showed the kind of grit and grime that is needed to taste success in the playoffs when he fought through both Karl Alzner and John Carlson to poke home the rebound of a Johnny Boychuk blast.BLACK EYE: Milan Lucic didnt get a single shot on net and didnt score one goal in the seven game series against the Washington Capitals. The Bs power forward is a big game player and leads the Bruins with three goals scored in Game 7s throughout his career, but he just didnt have that extra gear once the playoffs got moving. Lucic did have five hits and helped create the offensive sequence that led to Tyler Seguins goal in front of the net, but the offense is a component that the Bruins have come to expect out of Lucics game. It wasnt there in Wednesdays Game 7 and it hadnt been there for the entire playoff series with Bostons resident power forward.TURNING POINT: The Bruins could have won it earlier in overtime when Patrice Bergeron had a perfect scoring chance by the doorstep 45 seconds into OT off the rebound of a Dennis Seidenberg shot, but the Bs center just couldnt get a handle on the puck. Instead he fired it wide of the net with a wobbly attempt while trying to settle a puck that was bouncing. But it was pretty clear the injury affecting Bergeron played into his inability to get the meaty part of his stick on the puck and control a shot attempt at a net that was momentarily open. It was just another example of the Bruins being unable, unwilling or unavailable to park home a puck that was hanging around the net. Minutes later Joel Ward had the game-winner for the Capitals.HONORABLE MENTION: Dennis Seidenberg played upwards of 25 minutes had three shots on net, three hits and five blocked shots and helped extend the game to overtime when he jumped in front of a screaming Alex Ovechkin blast during Washingtons third period power play leading up to the end of regulation. The German defenseman also completely knocked Ovechkin off his pins with a stiff hit in overtime, but that one came just mere minutes before Joel Wards game-winner in the extra session.BY THE NUMBERS: 7 the number of Stanley Cup champs in the last nine seasons that have failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs the following season. The Bruins became the seventh on Wednesday night in Game 7.QUOTE TO NOTE: We had a lot of chances, its just I dont really know what to say. Its just disappointing to be done in April when youre used to going into May and June. Its just disappointing. Thats all. Johnny Boychuk on the shocking realization that the Bruins season is over after a first round exit at the hands of the Washington Capitals in seven games.
Danny Picard contributed to this story

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

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It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL.