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Capitals 2, Bruins 1: Braden Holtby Shines as Washington Evens Series

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If history is cyclical, the Boston Bruins have some things to be worried about.

Eight days after Braden Holtby made a name for himself on a national stage with a stellar playoff premiere against the Bruins, he outdid himself at the Verizon Center, stopping 44 Bruins shots as the Washington Capitals pulled even in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Series with a 2-1 win over the Bruins.

It marked the third time in four games that Holtby had held the Bruins to just one goal, and the last time the rookie goaltender had such a stellar performance (albeit in an overtime loss), the Caps followed it up with a win.

Playing without center Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals did what they did during the regular season without Backstrom: beat the Bruins.

Alexander Semin had the decisive tally when he roofed a puck into the far corner of Tim Thomas' net on the Capitals' third power play of the night, one whose origins were awfully questionable as Patrice Bergeron had been sent to the box for hooking Jason Chimera after Chimera dropped his stick in the attacking zone.

Thomas stopped 19 Washington shots on the night, and despite controlling play for much of the game, Boston couldn't solve Holtby when it mattered most - in large part due to their reluctance to get bodies in front of the Capitals' goaltender.

Whether or not the aversion to physical play was due to the NHL's cracking down on infractions of any sort of late is up for debate, but if Boston wants to take what is now a best-of-three series, they're going to have to get messy again like they did in Game Three.

They'll have a day to think about it before the puck drops for Game Five and, with Game Six scheduled for the day after, there's not much time to re-think strategy before it's too late.

But for now, the story will be Holtby, re-setting the series and the Bruins getting a chance to go back home and re-establish the forecheck which got them so far this season. Backstrom will be back on Saturday, and Washington's defense, which allowed 45 shots through to Holtby, isn't likely to be as porous.

Of course, despite the loss tonight, the Bruins have been the team that's gotten better as the series goes on. They'll need to keep that up this weekend if they want to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There's still a long way to go, but there's not much time to get there.