BOSTON -- Bruins center Chris Kelly ended a scoreless game less than two minutes into overtime, beating Capitals rookie goaltender Braden Holtby with a slapshot to give the Bruins a 1-0 win in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
Increasingly quiet due to the game's lack of scoring and their team's squandered chances, Bruins fans were allowed to exhale after Kelly's goal. TD Garden erupted as the Bruins celebrated on the ice and the Capitals skated off of it, a fitting way to punctuate the first game of Boston's Stanley Cup title defense.
The first period was uneventful. Call it a feeling-out period, but neither team created a solid scoring chance in the first 20 minutes. The Bruins out-shot the Capitals, 9 to 5, but they failed to make it difficult for Washington goalie Braden Holtby in his first career playoff start. Each team committed a penalty in the first, but the power plays proved just as bereft of goals as the early five-on-five action.
The Bruins did everything but score in the second period, but there's no prize for that. The shots in the second period went 15 to 2 in favor of the Bruins, but once again the B's failed to find the back of the net. Unlike in the first period, the Bruins didn't lack chances in the second. Daniel Paille's shot in front at the 8:28 mark came minutes after Brad Marchand had a similar chance, but Holtby was up to the task. The Bruins peppered Holtby with six shots on a power play to start the second, but none of them found the scoring column.
Fans hoping for high-octane hockey in the third period were also disappointed. The Capitals finally seemed to find their edge in the third, out-shooting the Bruins 9 to 3. Tim Thomas was tested for the first time in the game, and he reverted back to the dominant Thomas of last year's playoffs. Thomas made the second of two tremendous saves during a Capitals power play four minutes into the period. A short time later, Boychuk bailed out his goalie by diving to the ground to cover an open net.
It seemed as if the two teams might play all night, but the Bruins' 30th and final shot of the game was Kelly's. The Capitals finished with 17 shots on goal.
Game 2 is Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. at TD Garden.