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

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
 

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.  

*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.

*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.

*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.

*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.

*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.

*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.