March 10, 2012

Desperate Capitals hold off B's late push to earn 4-3 win

By Jesse Connolly

Final: Washington 4, Boston 3

Recap: The Bruins got off to a terrible start in the first period, as Alex Semin scored at the 7:50 mark and Mat Hendricks beat Tim Thomas 25 ticks later to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead. Boston called timeout and turned the tide. Their drastic shot advantage over the remainder of the frame finally proved fruitful, as Milan Lucic beat Tomas Vokoun five-hole with 5.6 seconds remaining.

In the second, Boston’s momentum carried over. Brad Marchand got in alone on Vokoun and beat him from close range to make it 2-2. Washington regained control, however, and scored twice in the second half of the frame, giving them a 4-2 lead heading into the third.

It was all Bruins over the final 20 minutes of play, as the B’s outshot the Capitals 13-2 and cut the lead to one on a Johnny Boychuk goal with 3:13 left. The Bruins had a number of good bids with Thomas pulled for the extra attacker, including a golden opportunity for Brian Rolston on a rebound, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Records: Washington 34-28-6, 80 points; Boston 40-24-3, 83 points

Key Play of the Game: In the second with 11:22 gone, Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid collided behind Boston’s goal line. With the two d-men unable to recover, Alex Semin found an open Jay Beagle breaking in. His snapper put Washington up 3-2 and back in the driver’s seat.

Connolly’s Commendations: Rolston easily had his most impressive showing since coming over at the deadline, as he was highly involved in the offensive zone all afternoon. The veteran forward had three shots and came oh-so-close to tying things up late.

It was a great day for the line of Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Jordan Caron. Caron picked up an assist to extend his point streak to four games. Bergeron also had a helper and Marchand’s tally ended a six-game point drought. Together, they finished plus-6 in the matinee.

Connolly’s Critiques: Milan Lucic tallied, but it was a frustrating afternoon for No. 17’s linemates, David Krejci and Tyler Seguin. Krejci didn’t have any shots and took a stupid penalty in the second after voicing his displeasure with an offsides call. He and Seguin were both minus-2.

Numbers-wise, it was another rough day at the office for Thomas. The 37-year-old netminder stopped just 26-of-30 in the setback. He’s now had a save percentage under .900 in four of the last five games.

Notes: Benoit Pouliot was a late scratch for today’s game. Boston dressed seven defensemen, with Mike Mottau slotting in on the fourth line as a forward. Marchand’s last point came in a 5-3 win over the Senators on Feb. 25.

Final Thoughts: Today’s tilt was kind of a wacky one. The Caps came out desperate, but Boston stole the momentum n the first period. After tying things up, however, Boston gave it back for most of the middle frame, only to turn on the jets and make a late surge in a failed comeback bid, squashing hopes of the B’s reeling off three-straight wins.

Next: For the second-straight week, Boston will play in matinees on both Saturday and Sunday. They’ll head to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at 12:30 tomorrow afternoon.