We’re several weeks into our worldwide attempt to “flatten the curve”. We’ve been offering daily escapes into the sporting events of yesteryear through our “Filling The Void” series. We’ve looked back on the inspiring, mind-boggling, and remarkable events as well as the ordinary, daily games we’ve been missing in our lives. Here at The Turf Sports, we sincerely hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and being safe through these trying days. We’d also like to take a moment to send out a huge THANK YOU to all of those front-line folks keeping society going. From the medical community to those stocking grocery store shelves, delivering supplies around the country or helping us all fight this virus together in some other essential, invaluable way. You are all heroes.
Quick – which would you rather have – a game that turns into a blowout early? How about a back and forth, close-fought battle? Obviously, if I had “skin in the game” I’d prefer to be on the winning side of a blowout. However, I think most neutral sports fans would want to watch something competitive – in any sport. If I’m going to tune in and watch two teams I don’t really care about, I at least want to be entertained. Give me a well played game and hold my attention. In the first round of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, there were two teams that did just that.
Today: Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins – Game 7, 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs – First Round
As a Rangers fan, I DEFINITELY was neutral for this series. I’d have preferred it if neither team could win. Sadly, that wasn’t allowed, so there was no “good” result for me. All I could hope for was a great matchup. Boy did these guys deliver.
The Boston Bruins were the defending Stanley Cup Champions. They won their division fairly comfortably with a 10 point cushion. They ended up as the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Washington Capitals had a chance at a division title, but came up short and ended up as the #7 seed. This would be the third time these two would meet in the playoffs.
Sure Bet or Long Shot?
The general assumption coming into this series was that Boston would take care of business. After all, they were the defending champs. The Capitals, on the other hand, struggled all season long. They were not known as a defensive team and even fired their coach during the regular season. To top it all off, the goalie matchup couldn’t have been more lopsided. In the Bruins net was Tim Thomas – the defending Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner. He started the majority of games all season long (he also started the All-Star Game).
At the other end was a rookie backstop named Braden Holtby. His NHL debut came late in a game in 2010 (against the Bruins). He then spent the majority of the 2011-2012 season in the AHL. The Capitals called him up for the last game of the season after both Tomáš Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth went down with injuries.
The “David v. Goliath” narrative was all set.
As Close As It Can Get
Game 1 of this series definitely was a harbinger for what was to come. It ended up with Boston winning 1-0 in overtime. Thomas stopped all 17 shots thrown at him. Holtby was just as solid until the 30th shot he faced – from Chris Kelly – got by him in OT. Games 2 through 6 would all play out in similar fashion (though with higher scores). That set the stage for this game. It became the first time in NHL history that all 7 games of a playoff series were decided by one goal. Four of those games went to overtime. The Bruins would head into the offseason. The Capitals would advance to play the top-seeded NY Rangers in the Conference Semifinals. Man – ya gotta love playoff hockey.
See You Tomorrow. Be Safe. Be Smart. Wash Your Hands.
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