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Capitals fight, no knockout

Playing catch-up finally catches up to them in OT

By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell
Globe Staff / April 23, 2012
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WASHINGTON - Three times the Capitals fell behind by a goal to the Bruins in Sunday’s Game 6 at the Verizon Center.

And three times, they battled back to even. But in overtime, there was no fourth comeback as Tyler Seguin scored at 3:17 to lift the Bruins to a 4-3 victory, forcing Game 7 Wednesday in Boston.

After Rich Peverley gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 5:56 of the opening period, Mike Green answered at 9:47. Boston’s David Krejci made it 2-1 at 16:48, and Jason Chimera responded at 19:18 of the second. Bruin Andrew Ference made it 3-2 at 11:57 of the third, and Alex Ovechkin knotted it again at 15:08.

The Capitals just couldn’t get in front. Now it’s in the books and all that matters is Game 7.

“We put in a good effort in this game but it could’ve been a little bit better,’’ said Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner. “But we’ve got one more.’’

At least one more. The way 22-year-old goaltender Braden Holtby has been playing - he allowed four goals on 31 shots, many challenging - as well as the rest of the team, the Capitals are confident they have what it takes to advance.

“It’s more about going out there and starting hard and letting them know it’s going to be another one of these close ones,’’ said Alzner, when asked about returning to TD Garden. “We’re not going to let them go out there and blow us out of the water like they may think they will on home ice. It’s going to be another dogfight and we’re going to be going hard.’’

Alzner said the Capitals could feel the Bruins’ intensity given that it was an elimination game.

“You could tell that they were going hard and they [didn’t] want to give an inch and they were ready to fight this one out,’’ said Alzner. “They’re a good team that has good experience. We battled hard. We could maybe use a little bit more grit to help us kind of push over that hump, but we’ll remember how we lost this game and bring it to the next one.’’

Seguin also had a hand in the Bruins’ third goal, scored by Ference. He fired the puck at Holtby’s mask on purpose to try to create a rebound, and that’s exactly what happened.

“If he shot it off his head on purpose, that’s a pretty impressive play,’’ said Alzner. “I’ve never seen that and I’ve never heard of it before, so it’s a good play by him if that’s what he did.’’

Capitals forward Mike Knuble, a former Bruin, agreed.

“I think it takes a lot of skill to say you’re going to hit a guy in the head,’’ said Knuble. “I can see throwing it at his shoulders, it’s a much bigger target. In hindsight, it was a good play. He hit him in the face. I mean, if you can do it, the odds are pretty slim, but he seemed to do it.’’

It will be up to the Capitals to find a way to get the edge in Game 7.

“I think we should be proud of the way we’ve been playing,’’ said Knuble. “We don’t have to change a thing. It comes down to a one-game series and I guess that’s the way it’s gone for this team the whole year. I think we could anticipate probably taking this to seven games when the series began. Just every game, if you play 1 percent better than the other team, you won the game. It’s crazy how incredibly tight this whole series is, so it’s absolutely fitting that we go to [Game 7].’’

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at marrapese@globe.com.

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