Since they beat the Hurricanes on Saturday, the Bruins went into yesterday's regular season finale in DC with the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference locked up. With Buffalo's loss to New Jersey last night, the Bruins will travel to the Sabres beginning on Thursday night in the series matchup that any Bruins fan was rooting for.
On paper, game #82 didn't mean a thing and therefore it made sense to sit Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi and Tuukka Rask, four players that'll get heavy minutes in the playoffs.
With that said, seeing Boston (39-30-13) pull out a 4-3 shootout win over the mighty Capitals (54-15-13) at the Verizon Center turned out to be one of the best moments of the season. It gave the B's momentum heading into the playoffs, riding a three-game winning streak.
It was a best case scenario for Claude Julian and the B's as two complete frauds decided to drop by: Michael Ryder scored twice and Marco Sturm also had a goal. Backup goalie Tim Thomas, last seen getting pulled early in two of his last three appearances, got the win and Miroslav Satan had the game-winner in the shootout.
Alexander Semin scored his 40th goal of the season, 2:23 into the game. However, Ryder bounced back with a pair of goals in the first period. Milan Lucic and callup Zach Hamill (first NHL point) had the assists on the first one while Dennis Wideman assisted on the second which was a power-play strike.
Ex-Bruin Mike Knuble continued to do damage against his old team, tying it up in the third period with his 29th goal of the season. That's right, Mike Knuble would be far and away the Bruins' leading goal-scorer this dog's breakfast of a campaign, yuck.
Sturm tied it with 4:18 left from David Krejci. Thomas stopped both Capitals shots in the shootout and Krejci scored before Satan iced it with a sweet backhander.
I've said before that Buffalo is not that good and I'll stick by that. Ryan Miller is the best goalie in the NHL and the Bruins have the worst offense, not only in the playoffs but in the NHL, so that's the key matchup. If the B's can somehow survive that, they'd likely meet the Devils in the second round and even that isn't so scary.