At points on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, it looked like the Boston Bruins were about to get over the hump. The Bruins erased a 2-0 Washington lead in just 28 seconds thanks to goals by Dennis Seidenberg and Brad Marchand. Then a power play goal from Johnny Boychuk, the Bruins' first of the postseason, erased a 3-2 Washington lead in the third period.
Boston skated downhill after that, but playing without an injured Patrice Bergeron and with a snakebitten Tyler Seguin and David Krejci, they were unable to solve Braden Holtby once more and fell to Washington, 4-3, to fall into a 3-2 hole in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with Washington.
They'll play game six in Washington on Sunday afternoon, and there's no doubt that the Bruins will have the moments that could've been on their mind when they take the ice at the Verizon Center.
Whether or not they'll be able to extend the series and bring it back to Boston for a seventh game, however, is very much up in the air.
The Capitals sacrificed themselves time and again during the game, blocking a majority of the Bruins attempts from the point during the game, but some of the biggest stops didn't come from the Washington defense. David Krejci continued his struggles in the series, being unable to find either the front or back of the net, and Tyler Seguin missed two key opportunities to score late in the game.
Seguin is due for a goal or five. Marchand is due to draw some stupid penalties. Krejci is due to get something going - and he had some good looks in front of the net and some impressive centering passes in this one. Milan Lucic is overdue for...something.
Thomas, despite his Game One effort, hasn't had the game that we all know he's capable of. Bergeron - assuming he's well - has a big play or two in him. And Daniel Paille, bless his soul, is long overdue a short-handed breakaway goal.
If it all comes together tomorrow, we'll be back in Boston on Wednesday. And, at least for now, we won't entertain any other options.
Patrice Bergeron skated just two shifts in the third period after being roughed up by Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin earlier in the game, in what we can only hope is an effort to ensure his health for Sunday's Game Six. Joe Corvo, who took a shot off the inside of his right knee in the first period just before Washington took a 1-0 lead, didn't skate late in the game, either.
If Bergeron and Corvo can play on Sunday, they'll be called on to give everything that they have for a Bruins team that needs two consecutive wins to advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And they'll need Tim Thomas, who got a piece of Washington's second and third goals and should have stopped Troy Brouwer's game-winner from the right wing easily, to be every bit the goaltender that won the Conn Smythe and Vezina trophies last season.
There's no reason to believe that it can't come together. The Bruins - who found themselves in so many holes during last year's postseason and in similar ruts during this campaign - have always been good at battling back. They proved that in 28 seconds in the second period today, they proved it in five games against Montreal last spring and they now have a chance to prove it again.