Boston defeats Washington, 2-1: Final
Boston, MA –
With Boston, MA – With some last-second luck, the Boston Bruins emerged victorious over the Washington Capitals, 2-1, in this afternoon's game at the TD Banknorth Garden. Zdeno Chara
and Marco Sturm
scored the team's two goals in front of a sellout crowd, and Alex Auld made 23 saves for Boston in the victory.
“I think we’ll look back [on tonight] as a game where we played the way we wanted to play and really were able to set the tone and keep building on things,” said Auld. “That’s the biggest thing, come out of tonight feeling good about our game.”
As they were getting ready for this afternoon’s game against the Washington Capitals at the TD Banknorth Garden, the Boston Bruins knew they were in for a fight.
“We know what’s at stake, we know what we’re up against, we know what we’ve been through, and I think it’s up to us to respond now,” said head coach Claude Julien. “It’s not going to be an easy uphill climb, but we’ve got to start somewhere, and we’ve just got to find ways to win hockey games and get our game back on track.”
It was clear that there was a score to settle from the beginning, as Boston's Milan Lucic
and Washington's Matt Bradley dropped their gloves right at the face-off. They both earned five-minute fighting penalties, but Lucic’s win got the sellout Garden crowd going.
“We wanted to try to get the momentum our side and really try to get the fans into it, and I thought maybe it was a good idea to get it going right [then],” Lucic explained. “It was back just like last year, junior-style, back up and take the helmet off.”
They clearly energized their teammates as well, because not even 10 seconds had gone by when the Bruins Shawn Thornton
bravely took on the Capital's Donald Brashear.
“I didn’t pick that one, just ended up getting involved in it,” said Thornton. “[Brashear] was out on the ice, and he asked, and I don’t want to be shown up in my own building.”
Thornton acquitted himself well and earned a hard-fought draw against the larger man.
The physical play continued, and Chara was called for interference at 1:27. The referees, meanwhile, had the fun task of keeping the players off of each other and keeping the game moving.
“I think our guys just showed that we got pushed around last time in Washington, [and] we were ready for whatever they were going to throw at us,” said Coach Julien.
A great save by Auld on a breakaway shot by Alexander Semin ended in a pileup and some more punches inside – literally – the B’s net.
The Capitals, however, took the lead during a power play when Brooks Laich found the rebound of a shot by Alexander Ovechkin and threw the puck in net while Auld was facing the other way. Bruin Peter Schaefer was serving a penalty for hooking.
“We’ve said that we’ve got to find ways to stay out of the penalty box,” Coach said. “That kind of took the momentum away from us and obviously gave them some momentum.”
But Auld made yet another spectacular save, doing a split while pulling the puck out of the air with his glove, at 7:12.
Caps goalie Christobal Huet returned the favor at 9:11, with a little help from the net itself, as Glen Metropolit’s game-tying shot bounced off the post. The passing display from the B’s as their line headed down the ice, however, was beautiful.
The B’s got another man advantage at 16:50, when Matt Cooke entered the box for interference, but Huet wouldn’t budge, and the teams headed down the hallways with Washington up 1-0.
To start the second period, Bobby Allen took a hard fall at 4:06 after bouncing off Cooke. Shane Hnidy and Petteri Nokelainen helped Allen off the ice, and Cooke was awarded a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct, ending his play for the night.
“When I first got hit, I thought it was a lot worse to tell you the truth,” Allen confessed. “But I’m fortunate that it’s nothing bad. It should be a little stiff tomorrow, but it should be good to go.”
The Bruins worked to up their shot count from only five in the first period. Despite the man advantages and good chances, Huet showed the B’s no mercy.
A puck let loose after a save by Huet with about 3:05 remaining looked like it would give the Black & Gold a chance to tie the game, but Washington got hold of the puck quickly and controlled the play and the score remained 1-0 in favor of the Caps after 40 minutes.
Solid goaltending on both ends of the ice continued to keep the game close during the third period.
Washington had a couple chances early on, thanks to some good passing, but Auld kept the puck out of the net. And with 15:45 remaining, Huet made a diving glove save on a shot by Marc Savard
took a hit from Brashear at 13:19, which sent him to the ice and earned Brashear a four-minute high-sticking penalty. Brashear then garnered another two-minute roughing penalty in the ensuing scrum, during with he punched Shane Hnidy, giving Boston the man-advantage for nearly the rest of regulation.
“It shows the sacrifice of the team,” said Allen. “We knew we had it in here. This group is a special group, and…we expect big things of ourselves.”
The Black & Gold got another breake and gained a five-on-three advantage with 5:28 left as John Erskine was called for hooking.
After some fancy work in the Caps end of the rink, Chara took advantage of the two-man advantage, scoring the tying goal and sending the crowd into a frenzy with 5:01 remaining.
“We got unlucky a couple times with the puck hitting the crossbar, one time it goes off Sturmie’s leg….The one just gets out of the reach of [Glen Murray], and also…Metropolit’s shot going off the post, so it wasn’t really going our way,” said Lucic. “When we got the five-on-three chance, the guys who got out there really just [bore] down and made the most of it.”
The Bruins had another chance at a five-on-three when Tom Poti was called for slashing with 2:56 remaining.
Then, taking advantage of the scarce population of Caps players on-ice, Sturm knocked the puck past Huet with just 2:16 remaining to send the Bruins to the win.
“It was a really intense game, [and] it really came down to staying patient with the game,” said Chara. “It was a [heck] of a game.
“It was a good win.”
This afternoon’s game was Mark Stuart’s 100th NHL game...Zdeno Chara
and Marco Sturm
reached career highs with their goals in the game. Chara tied his career season-high of 16 goals, which he recorded both in the 2003-2004 season and the 2005-2006 season. Sturm hit a new career season-high of 49 points. They have 11 and 12 points, respectively, in their last 11 games played...Chara was awarded the Bruins hardhat, given to the player who worked the hardest during a win. The winner is selected by the player who earned the hat the previous win – in this case, Tim Thomas
, who was given the hat in a March 1 victory over Atlanta...With his assist, David Krejci
now has six points in his last seven games...Boston had eight power play opportunities in the game, which tied their season-high record, also hit on October 20 and January 19, both during games against the New York Rangers...Washington’s 41 penalty minutes during the match-up is the second-highest amount to be earned by an opponent during this season. The Montreal Canadiens hold the record with 51 penalty minutes, recorded in a November 17 game.
|Three star selections