This guy.

Game in a Sentence:

Braden Holtby put on another show in game four as the Capitals did just enough to even up the series and send it back to Boston.

Observations:

- As has been the case with so many different series this playoffs, the back and forth between these two teams was excellent once again in game four. They didn’t give each other much space out there but they fought for every inch they could get. This was your prototypical good playoff game.

- The two goals scored in the first period were interesting to see next to one another as they both capitalized on turnovers to create an odd man rush. In many ways that has been indicative of this entire series, just cat and mouse until someone makes a mistake.

- The Johansson goal was a case of Ference putting himself out of position to lay the body on Ovechkin. From the Bruins standpoint it was a silly play for Ference to make, but if you’re the Caps it’s the clear benefit to having an Ovechkin calibre player. He just mandates that the other team pays him extra attention. Great finish by Johansson on the play.

- The Peverley goal was actually funny for me in a lot of ways. Obviously you don’t see Ovechkin blow a tire very often, which switched the possession arrow. Then as Peverley fired on Holtby, he clearly whiffed on the shot which threw off Holtby’s positioning and opened up the five hole. The Bruins got a couple good bounces here and they made them happen.

- I say both goals are indicative of this series in that both of these teams are relying so heavily on the counterattack. They’re both playing deep in their zone, trying to force turnovers to generate scoring chances off the transition. The Bruins have been much better at maintaining possession and generating multiple chances at a time, but neither team has broken from the system.

- The Bruins missed a fair amount of shots around the net because of Holtby’s aggressiveness. He has been great at cutting down angles which is forcing shots wide and his ability to take away the bottom of the net is forcing the Bruins to miss high. He’s forcing the Bruins to make adjustments and they still can’t capitalize.

- Alex Semin has easily had the best playoffs of his career to date. He has made it tough to question his effort level so far with strong board play, blocked shots and overall hustle. His goal was nothing but pure skill. Amazing snipe.

- The Bruins came out very strong in the third but the Capitals have been great at taking away chances by just collapsing in the zone. The B’s outshot the Caps 45 to 21 but could have had an even greater margin if not for the Capitals play down low. The Capitals blocked 26 shots to the Bruins 16. If even a fraction of those make it through on either side it’s a massively different game.

- One of the reasons I really loved this game is these are teams that have really pushed each other physically and hit at every opportunity, yet stayed out of the box. I didn’t have too many problems with the officiating as I think they did a good job of keeping things under control after they got out of hand a bit last game. The penalties that did come up were largely due to guys not hustling.

- This happened again which was odd. I’m hoping Dean Lombardi explains why so that we can all understand things like electrical engineering, the meaning of life and miscommunication better. One of these played a bigger role than the other. I’ll leave you to figure out which it is.

- Tim Thomas was good again for the Bruins, especially when you consider how tough it is for a goaltender to stay sharp when they’re being tested so infrequently. He has really done all you could ask of him.

- Braden Holtby is becoming one of the real stories of the playoffs. A guy who was thrust into the spotlight when the two guys who play in front of him went down to end the season has stymied the defending champions. What’s not to love about that? He has been absolutely phenomenal and has really frustrated his opponents. You can see it in their body language after every stop.

- As I see it, whether it goes six or seven, whoever wins game five wins the series. There’s my attempt at predictive sorcery.

My Three Stars:

1) Braden Holtby
2) Brooks Laich
3) Tim Thomas