Pouliot’s charge led to electric goal
His strike tied it in third period
Benoit Pouliot joined the Bruins last summer with a meager playoff résumé.
In one game with the Wild and 21 with the Canadiens over six seasons, Pouliot had collected just two assists. But with the Bruins, it’s two games, 2 points.
In the first two games of this best-of-seven series against Washington, he equaled his career playoff point total, scoring the tying goal Saturday in the Bruins’ 2-1 double-overtime loss to the Capitals at TD Garden.
Pouliot, who rides left wing on the third line with center Chris Kelly and Brian Rolston, pulled the Bruins even at 12:13 of the third period. Washington had grabbed the lead with Troy Brouwer’s goal late in the second period.
It was the Bruins’ hard-working third line that generated the team’s most dangerous chances throughout the game. All three players were involved in Pouliot’s goal, as Kelly (who ripped in the winner in Game 1 in overtime) dropped a deft backhanded pass to Rolston from the left boards.
Rolston fired on Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, but the puck skidded off defenseman Jeff Schultz’s skate and Pouliot beat everybody else to the net, lifting a backhander before tumbling over Holtby.
“I think he tried to poke-check, too, at the same time, and I took a whack at it and it ended up in the net,’’ said Pouliot. “You never know what’s going to happen.’’
Pouliot was charging the net with such conviction that he didn’t stop moving until he had clambered over the fallen goalie and landed on the far side of the cage.
“I think I kneed him pretty good in the head,’’ Pouliot said with a bit of a grin. “But I think the puck went in first, so it was fine.’’
The Bruins can use a lot more plays like Pouliot’s rush against the Capitals, something the talented forward quickly pointed out.
“We’ve got some of the biggest guys in the league and we’re a big team, so any goalie who’s got traffic in front of him, it’s always tough to stop the puck, so I think we’ve got to do that in the next game,’’ he said.
In the first overtime, Pouliot nearly set up Kelly for a put-away, centering a feed from the left wing onto Kelly’s stick in the goalmouth. But Holtby held Kelly off.
For the game, Pouliot had only one shot, but Kelly had four and Rolston three.
“The first game went pretty well for our line,’’ said Pouliot. “Today it was the same but we’ve just got to score a little more.’’
Washington’s style of play has pinned down the Bruins’ normally versatile offense.
“They always have four or five guys in the neutral zone; it’s tough to get in their zone,’’ Pouliot said. “But the only thing we didn’t really do well today is put the puck deep and work in their end.
“We’ll figure it out next time.’’
Next time is Game 3 in Washington Monday night.
“We go on the road, it’s obviously a bigger challenge,’’ said Pouliot. “It’s not that we played too, too bad here, maybe the second game a bit worse than the first.’’