(Sports Network) - The first Game 7 of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs will take
place tonight in Boston, as the defending champion Bruins host the seventh-
seeded Washington Capitals at TD Garden for the decisive battle of this
Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
The Bruins won three Game 7s last spring and they earned their first Stanley
Cup title since 1972 after taking a decisive seventh game in Vancouver on June
15. Boston also was pushed to the limit in the first round in 2011, but the
B's beat Montreal in overtime of Game 7 to take that series.
Washington had a chance to eliminate the second-seeded Bruins this past Sunday
in D.C., but Boston kept its title defense alive by recording a 4-3 overtime
victory. Every game in this series so far has been decided by just one goal,
marking the first time in NHL history that six straight playoff games have
ended in one-goal margins.
Tyler Seguin lit the lamp just 3:17 into overtime for the Bruins on Sunday.
The No.2 overall pick of the 2010 draft also had an assist for Boston, which
bounced back from a 4-3 regulation loss on Saturday in Beantown.
Washington centerman Nicklas Backstrom, who had two assists in the game,
committed a crucial turnover in overtime to set up Seguin's game-winner.
Boston forward David Krejci stole the puck near center ice before passing off
to Milan Lucic, who was positioned at the blue line. Seguin collected Lucic's
pass and got Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby out of position before scoring
"I saw the goalie challenging, so I just tried to make a quick move and got
lucky it went in," Seguin said.
Krejci, Rich Peverley and Andrew Ference all had a goal and an assist to help
Boston stave off elimination.
Tim Thomas, last year's Conn Smythe winner, made 36 saves for the Bruins, who
are in danger of being eliminated in the first round for the first time since
losing to Montreal in the 2008 conference quarterfinals.
"I pride myself on doing the best I can every night and doing the best I can
to help the team," Thomas said. "Our backs are against the wall so I was
trying to help them out. Hopefully I did, but they [the rest of the team]
stepped up and helped us out too - the whole team did."
Despite the win, Boston is still one setback away from becoming the second
straight Stanley Cup winner to be eliminated in the first round the following
season. Chicago was ousted by Vancouver in last year's opening round after
winning it all in 2010.
Mike Green, Jason Chimera and Alex Ovechkin lit the lamp on Sunday for the
Capitals. Holtby stopped 27-of-31 shots for Washington and has allowed seven
goals over the last two games after surrendering that same amount over the
first four tilts in this series.
"Any experiences you get in the playoffs, it just adds to you," Capitals head
coach Dale Hunter said. "You know what to expect. Game 7s are exciting games
because it's do or die for both teams and they're awesome to play in."
The Capitals are 1-3 in Game 7s over the past four seasons and all four of
those contests were at home. Washington has won only two Game 7s in franchise
history and its last victory in a decisive game came against the New York
Rangers in the 2009 conference quarterfinals. Hunter delivered the other Game
7 winner for Washington, scoring in overtime to beat Philadelphia in the 1988
Boston was 24-14-3 as the home club during the regular season, but has lost
two straight as the host since taking Game 1 of this series. Washington had a
poor 16-21-4 road record this season.
The Sports Network