Washington’s Joel Ward slammed home a rebound in overtime to give the Capitals a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday in the deciding game of their NHL first-round playoff series, eliminating the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Washington’s rookie goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 31 shots in Game 7. Matt Hendricks scored the Capitals’ other goal.
Tyler Seguin scored, and Tim Thomas made 26 saves for Boston. It was the first time in NHL history that a playoff series had seven games determined by one goal. Four of the games went to overtime.
Hendricks scored midway through the first period, and Seguin tied it in the second. It stayed that way through a scoreless third, with Washington killing off a penalty in the final three minutes to send the game into overtime.
Patrice Bergeron had a chance to win it in the first minute of the extra period, but he could not get off a solid shot. Two minutes later, the Capitals broke into the Boston zone, with former Bruin Mike Knuble leading a 2-on-1.
Knuble shot, and Thomas left the rebound out where Ward could reach it with his backhander.
The building fell silent as the Capitals celebrated just their third postseason series win since a run to the Stanley Cup finals in 1998. Some fans littered the ice with debris, but the Bruins waited for the postgame handshake.
No team has repeated as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-1998.