The regular season wasn't much of a struggle for the Boston Bruins, and neither was their first-round playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings.
Tuukka Rask made 31 saves Saturday, and the defending Eastern Conference champions eliminated the Red Wings with a 4-2 victory in Game 5.
After finishing the regular season with the best record in the NHL, the Bruins advanced to the conference semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens.
"That series was much tougher than maybe the results showed," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who gave Boston the lead for good with 4 seconds left in the second period. "I think that we handled it well, we came into this series ready and we got the job done."
Loui Eriksson opened the scoring for Boston, and Chara's goal on a 4-on-3 advantage snapped a 1-1 tie. Milan Lucic also scored, and Jarome Iginla added an empty-netter.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg scored and Jonas Gustavsson stopped 29 shots for Detroit. The Red Wings scored only six goals in the five-game series.
"We're not there yet," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose team failed to win a playoff series in two of the past three seasons. "The last two years, we battled to get into the playoffs. To me, that's a measure of where we are. Instead of battling for the Cup, we're battling to make the playoffs."
It was 1-1 when the Bruins gained a 4-on-3 power play thanks to a holding penalty on Johan Franzen just 22 seconds before Brendan Smith was called for cross-checking. On a faceoff in the Detroit zone, Patrice Bergeron lured two of the three Red Wings defenders toward the corner and then passed it across the ice to Chara, who one-timed it past Gustavsson.
Not usually demonstrative, Chara felt this one was worth celebrating.
"It was a big game and a big goal," he said. "So I'm not afraid to show it."
Capitals clean house: General manager George McPhee and coach Adam Oates lost their jobs with the Washington Capitals on Saturday, about two weeks after the team failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
"We were left with the overall impression that the team wasn't trending toward being able to compete for a Stanley Cup," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said in a news conference at the club's arena. "And that was just a clear signal and why it was time to make those changes."
McPhee's contract was up and the team announced it will not give him a new one after his 17 years as the GM, which included drafting Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in the first round.
Oates was fired with one season left on his three-year deal. A former star player for the Capitals, he was in his first job as an NHL head coach.
Washington finished this season with the ninth-most points in the Eastern Conference, one spot out of a playoff berth.
"You have to do something to pivot the team to be an ongoing strong team," Leonsis said. "And I just felt that new leadership at this time was needed, and let's start it with a clean slate."