BOSTON, MA - APRIL 21: Troy Brouwer #20 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his game winning powerplay goal at 18:33 along with Marcus Johansson #90 against the Boston Bruins in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 21, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
After Game 4, we talked about the Boston Bruins' lack of power-play proficiency in their series against the Washington Capitals.
Wouldn't you know it, the Bruins would finally score with the man advantage in Game 5 -- a Johnny Boychuk blast from the point past Braden Holtby to tie the game 3-3.
But with less than two minutes to go in the game, the Capitals' power play answered back, as Troy Brouwer's slapper from the right circle zipped past Tim Thomas's shoulder and into the net to give the Caps a 4-3 win and a 3-2 series lead. This means the Caps could close out the series at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Verizon Center. The game will be shown live on NBC4.
Not many people gave the Capitals a chance in this series, but they are now just one win away from sending the defending Stanley Cup champions home for the summer without the Cup.
It takes a full team effort to go deep in the playoffs, and the Capitals depth paid big dividends on this day. Not only did Brouwer -- a member of Washington's second power-play unit -- score a big goal, but so did fourth-liner and frequent healthy scratch Mike Knuble. (Free Knuble!)
Knuble stunned the Boston crowd early in the third period when he gave the Caps a 3-2 lead. Fellow fourth-liner Joel Ward send what looked like a harmless wrister on net from the right-wing boards, but Thomas did a poor job kicking out the rebound, which went straight to Knuble charging hard down the left wing. Knuble beat Shawn Thornton the puck and fired it past a scrambling Thomas into the net.
Knuble wasn't the only grinder to contribute on offense, as Jay Beagle also scored. After Alex Semin opened the scoring in the second period, Beagle -- known more as a faceoff specialist than scorer -- extended the lead to 2-0 with a wrister that deflected off a defenseman's stick and past Thomas.
The two-goal lead wouldn't last. In fact, it vanished rather quickly three minutes later. The Bruins roared back with two goals in a span of 28 seconds. First it was Dennis Seidenberg and then Brad Marchand, who poked a rebound under Holtby to tie the game.
However, Holtby stood his ground throughout the third period. His best save was an incredible right pad stop on Tyler Seguin, who found himself all alone with the puck to Holtby's right. The young sniper looked to have a wide-open net, but Holtby did the splits and got the very bottom of his right pad on Seguin's shot to deflected it away.
Holtby was heroic yet again. The grinders contributed on offense. And the Capitals won again.
The Caps know what they have to do.
"Stay calm," Holtby told NBC Sports after the game. "Play our game, and use our fans to our advantage for energy, but don't try to get too fancy."