A Game 7 full of history

Tim Thomas pitched shutouts in his previous two winner-take-all encounters. But two goals was...

Tim Thomas pitched shutouts in his previous two winner-take-all encounters. But two goals was enough for the Caps to go through Wednesday night. (REUTERS)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 11:09 PM ET

Andrew Ference was probably the least nervous player heading into Wednesday's Game 7 in Boston.

To the Boston Bruins' defenceman, series-deciding games are old hat. Ference was playing in his 10th Wednesday, going up against the Washington Capitals -- the most among active players.

Ference, 33, had a goal and three assists in his previous nine tries.

Originally selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the eighth-round -- 208th overall -- of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Ference won three Game 7s last season with the Bruins.

His first Game 7 came in 2001 as a member of the Penguins, defeating the Buffalo Sabres in the conference semifinal before falling to the New Jersey Devils in the next round.

Ference went on to play two series-deciding games as a member of the Calgary Flames in 2004, winning in the first round over the Vancouver Canucks, then losing in the Stanley Cup final to the Tampa Bay Lighting.

The Edmonton native also lost a first-round series that went the distance with the Flames in 2006 and another with the Bruins in 2008.

Prior to last season, Ference was on the wrong end of a Game 7 series in the 2010 conference semifinal to the Philadelphia Flyers.

At the other end, for the Washington Capitals, defenceman Roman Hamrlik was playing in his eighth Game 7.

Grapes advocates non-contact?

It’s a little surprising Don Cherry would compliment Alex Ovechkin for not dishing out hits on the Boston Bruins when the opportunity presented itself.

Perhaps the former Bruins coach did not want to see anymore Boston players get hurt having to absorb a hit from Ovechkin.

Patrice Bergeron is still not himself after being sandwiched by Ovechkin and Alexander Semin in Game 5.

Laying the body is part of Ovechkin’s game, but perhaps he was hurting himself. Until he got a great chance on the power play in the third period, Ovechkin hadn’t done much and performed more flybys than Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

Not up to par

While Bruins would not say what was ailing Bergeron, whatever it was, it obviously affected his game.

The Bruins' centre was unable to take face-offs in Wednesday’s contest and struggled to win one-on-one battles along the boards.

Bergeron, who is a nominee fort this year’s Selke award, given to the league’s best defensive forward, was injured during the second period of Game 5 on Saturday. He was only able to play three shifts in the third period of that contest.

Bergeron did come back to play over 19 minutes in Game 6 as the Bruins won in overtime to force the deciding game.

Big-game player

Tim Thomas had been money in the bank recently for the Bruins heading into Game 7s.

The Bruins' goaltender had pitched a pair of shutouts in his previous two winner-take-all encounters, including last year’s Stanley Cup clincher.

The Capitals, however, were able to get to Thomas Wednesday, as Matt Hendricks tipped a point-shot past him for the opening goal of the contest.

The Bruins were able to respond, tying the game, but Joel Ward scored the overtime winner to give the Capitals a 2-1 victory and knock the defending champions out of the playoffs.

Intriguing match-up

Wednesday’s game featured a pretty good battle between Jason Chimera and Milan Lucic.

The two saw plenty of each other lining up on opposite wings.

Chimera did a good job of keeping the bigger Bruin in check, who took out some of his frustrating towards the end of the first, leveling Chimera as the two were crossing paths on the way to the bench.

Unfortunately for the Capitals, they couldn’t get Chimera’s line out against Lucic's unit the end of the second period as the Bruins tied the game on Tyler Seguin’s goal.

Late in the game, Chimera was the victim of a weak holding call that gave the Bruins a power play, which they were unable to capitalize on.

Two for flinching

Braden Holtby appears to be a pretty cool customer.

The Capitals goaltender must have won a lot of flinching contests when he was a kid.

Holtby did not even move when Bruins' forward Rich Peverley wound up and acted as though he was going to two-hand the goaltender in the second period.

Peverley was upset after being knocked down from behind by Holtby in front of the visitors' net.

Fine line

This series will go down as the tightest in Stanley Cup history.

Heading into Game 7, no series had the first six games all decided by just one goal.

The trend continued as the teams needed overtime to decide the affair Wednesday.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNdvandiest

 

 


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