There are a lot of phrases you can use to sum up the Capitals 4-3 overtime loss to the Bruins in Game 6 this afternoon. I've heard most people call it an "opportunity missed" for the Caps because they could have closed out the series with a win, but failed in overtime. Personally, I see this as a wasted effort for Washington. The Caps played arguably their best game of the series but ended up taking the loss because of a few miscues and a poorly played overtime period. Now they have to play one more game to advance.
The Bruins are still winning the overall battle at even strength so they should be confident going into game 7, but they dodged a bullet in today's game.
Scoring chance breakdown after the jump
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Boston's chances are in black, Washington's are in white
The overall chance numbers do not look too bad, but that's mainly because Washington came out sleep-walking in overtime. For the first 60 minutes, Boston was outplayed by a wide margin and they were lucky to get out of that second period tied at two. Their play in the first period wasn't bad and they had a few good stretches in the third, but Washington had the overall advantage for most of regulation. Overtime, though? Completely different story.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Daniel Paille & Jordan Caron +2
Worst EV Forward: Brad Marchand & Rich Peverley -3
Best EV Defenseman: Andrew Ference +6
Worst EV Defenseman: Zdeno Chara & Dennis Seidenberg -8
Claude Julien relied heavily on his top-six for this game and they ended up being on ice for a ton of chances for both teams a result. David Krejci was on ice for 17 of the 29 total even strength chances in the game, the majority of which ended up being Washington's. Julien did make a very smart move in putting Tyler Seguin back on the top line as he was one of Boston's best forwards and scored the game winning goal in overtime. Seguin's had zero luck all series long so it was nice to see him finally get rewarded for his efforts.
The defense corps' scoring chance numbers are pretty surprising because Chara/Seidenberg have been Boston's best players this series while Boychuk/Ference have been their worst. It was the complete opposite in this game as Chara/Seidenberg were torched by Washington's top-six and Boychuk/Ference won their matchup handedly. Although, I think some of this has to do with Dale Hunter reuniting Ovechkin & Backstrom as Ference/Boychuk now have an easier matchup than they did before.They definitely had a good game today.
Another thing I give Claude Julien credit for is inserting Jordan Caron into the lineup in place of Shawn Thornton. Yes, Thornton gives the B's a nice physical presence but he doesn't do much other than that. Caron gives the bottom-six more skill and Boston's fourth line played well in limited action.
Best EV Forward: Alex Ovechkin & Troy Brouwer +4
Worst EV Forward: Jay Beagle, Joel Ward & Keith Aucoin -2
Best EV Defenseman: Mike Green +5
Worst EV Defenseman: John Carlson -3
The Capitals defense also saw some role reversals as Mike Green finally decided to show up for a game this series. He was facing Boston's third liners, but the Caps need Green to be active offensively and he certainly was today. I'm a little surprised that he played such few minutes, though because he was having a solid game. Better than, say, Dennis Wideman who was on ice for only three Washington scoring chances despite starting in the offensive zone 13 times. On the other end of the spectrum, John Carlson ended up being on ice for a lot of chances against and he had some trouble defending Boston's top line.
Alex Ovechkin played his best game of the series and his play rubbed off on all of his linemates as both Brouwer and Laich were superb when they were on the top-line. It's a shame that the Caps couldn't cash in on a win in this situation because Ovechkin looked terrific for most of the game.
An issue that came up during the game was that Ovechkin's ice-time was limited because of Hunter's "line-matching" tactics at home. Ovechkin played a little over six minutes through two periods and that's pretty absurd when you look at how well he played at even strength compared to the rest of the team. Hunter's been doing some odd things when it comes to running his forwards and that certainly was the case today. It is also odd to see that Laich and Brouwer played under 11 minutes despite the Caps getting more scoring chances when those two were on the ice.
Meanwhile, players like Joel Ward, Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks were getting more ice-time and Alex Semin played less than 13 minutes. This wasn't only going on at even strength, though, Hunter's decisions of which players to use on the powerplay were just baffling. When you're playing a tie game and elect to use Keith Aucoin over more proven goal scorers like Alex Semin, Troy Brouwer & even Brooks Laich, you are doing it wrong. Also, I have no idea why Mike Green isn't being used on the powerplay this series but there's a lot of things that Hunter does that confuse me. It's going to be interesting to see what the Caps do about their coaching situation if they win this series.
Head-to-Head at Five-on-Five