WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals, having a 3-1 series lead over the Boston Bruins before last night's game, were hoping to shed their bad karma and win a playoff series for the first time since 1994.
But it didn't turn out that way.
Boston's Byron Dafoe made 26 saves to backstop a 4-0 shutout, and Jason Allison set up the first goal, scored one and assisted on a third to keep Boston alive. The best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series now goes back to Boston for Game 6 tomorrow at 2 p.m.
"It almost looked like we wanted the Bruins to roll over and play dead," Capitals coach Ron Wilson said. "We learned a hard lesson."
The teams played a scoreless first period, but Allison said he and his teammates were inspired by a chop to the side of Allison's knee by the Caps' Chris Simon.
The officials did not see the incident away from the play in the early moments of the game, but Bruins coach Pat Burns called Simon's swing "vicious." Simon said he didn't remember the incident.
"We'll send Simon a video," Allison said as he made his way out of MCI Center, where the Bruins sent the sellout crowd of 19,740 home unhappy. "He just came off the bench and swung at my leg. But that's playoff hockey. You just find a way to answer back."
The Bruins' answer left the Caps talking bravely, as they tried to ward off questions about their playoff history, which includes three previous 3-1 leads that slipped away: to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995 and 1992 and to the New York Islanders in 1987.
This week, the sides exchanged barbs. Burns pointed out the Caps "have been known to blow 3-1 series leads." And Wilson countered: "They've been down 3-1 a total of 17 times in their history and never come back to win any of those series."
But last night, in Game 5, the Bruins chipped away for three goals in the second period and then played strong defense to keep the Caps from mounting any kind of meaningful attack.
"They're a great team when they get the lead," said Olaf Kolzig, who came into last night's game with a .956 save percentage, the best in postseason play. "We either have to get a lead first or find a way to battle back like they have."
Pub Date: 5/02/98