BOSTON — There will be a new Stanley Cup champion this season.
Joel Ward slammed home a rebound at 2:57 of overtime to give the Capitals a 2-1 victory over the Bruins on Wednesday, putting Washington in the Eastern Conference semifinals and ending the defending Cup champions' repeat hopes.
Washington's Mike Knuble blocked a shot by Boston's Benoit Pouliot and raced down on a 2-on-1 with Ward. Goalie Tim Thomas stopped Knuble's backhander, but Ward got position on defenseman Greg Zanon, picked up the rebound and whipped home a backhander.
"When I saw the puck there, I just took a whack at it," Ward said. "It was a sense of relief, a great accomplishment."
Rookie Braden Holtby stopped 31 shots for Washington in Game 7, the seventh one-goal game of the series. It was the first time in league history a playoff series had seven games determined by one goal. Four of the games went to overtime.
Tyler Seguin scored and Tim Thomas made 26 saves for Boston, which became the second straight defending champion to be knocked out in the first round. Chicago was eliminated by Vancouver last season, also in overtime in Game 7.
"The whole year has been a mental challenge for our guys," coach Claude Julien said.
"I didn't think our team was in tune as well as it was (last spring)."
First Period—1, Washington, Hendricks 1 (Carlson, Chimera), 11:23. Penalties—Schultz, Was (tripping), 18:10.
Second Period—2, Boston, Seguin 2 (Boychuk, Ference), 14:27. Penalties—None.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Hamrlik, Was (holding stick), 1:18; Bergeron, Bos (hooking), 11:00; Chimera, Was (holding), 17:34. First Overtime—3, Washington, Ward 1 (Knuble), 2:57. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Washington 5-8-12-2—27. Boston 11-14-6-1—32. Power-play opportunities—Washington 0 of 1; Boston 0 of 3. Goalies—Washington, Holtby 4-3-0 (32 shots-31 saves). Boston, Thomas 3-4-0 (27-25).
panthers-devils: Florida goalie Jose Theodore, who didn't play in Tuesday's overtime loss to New Jersey because of an unspecified injury, worked out and said he felt better. Coach Kevin Dineen said "if he's available" for tonight's Game 7, Theodore will start.
vezina finalists: The Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist, the Kings' Jonathan Quick and the Predators' Pekka Rinne are the finalists for the Vezina Trophy, give to the league's best goaltender. The winner will be announced June 20.
around the league: Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, rumored to be on his way out of Vancouver, next week will submit a short list of teams for which he'd waive his no-trade clause, and the Maple Leafs will be on it, Canada's TSN TV network reported. The Lightning has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Luongo. … Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said he expected forward Marian Hossa, knocked out of the playoffs by a hit to the head from Coyotes forward Raffi Torres in Game 3 of their West quarterfinal, to be ready for next season. Torres was suspended for 25 games for the hit.