Bruins 4, Capitals 3

Associated Press | Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) - Zdeno Chara scored the tiebreaking goal during 4-on-4 play with less than 2 minutes left, and the reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins finally solved playoff rookie goalie Braden Holtby, beating the Washington Capitals 4-3 Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round series.

Chara's shot from the right circle appeared to get deflected on its way past Holtby. The Bruins captain also had two assists.

Tim Thomas, last season's playoff MVP, made 29 saves.

Game 4 is Thursday in Washington. After that, the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 on Saturday.

Brian Rolston, Rich Peverley and Daniel Paille also scored for the Bruins.

Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich got Washington's goals. Laich scored on a breakaway with 6 minutes left to make it 3-3, but Chara came through with 1:53 remaining for second-seeded Boston.

Holtby, who blocked 72 of 74 shots through the first two games, was good but not great Monday, making 25 saves.

The action was more free-flowing than it had been in the series, and perhaps the teams were due. The Bruins ranked second in the NHL during the regular season with 269 goals, and no team had more players with 20 goals than Boston's six. The Capitals have emphasized defense lately, but they still boast talented forwards such as Ovechkin, Semin and Nicklas Backstrom.

Game 1 went to overtime before Boston won 1-0, and Game 2 wasn't decided until the second extra period, when Washington claimed a 2-1 victory. Two games and a whopping total of four goals.

There were four goals in 1 1/2 periods Monday, and a lot more hitting and fighting and penalties.

Ovechkin attempted to set the tone right away, flattening defenseman Dennis Seidenberg with a big, roar-inducing hit less than 30 seconds in. About 10 minutes later, Ovechkin was at it again, rattling Rolston, one of the five hits the Russian accumulated in the first period.

Nearly every save made by Holtby - especially snatches with his glove - drew raucous cheers from the red-clad fans in the stands. He caught a 1-on-1 try by Milan Lucic in the first period, inspiring chants of "Holt-bee! Holt-bee!"

Chara is Boston's best defenseman and it's likely not a coincidence that Washington went ahead 1-0 on a power play with him in the penalty box for roughing.

The Capitals capitalized 29 seconds into the 5-on-4 chance, with Laich corralling the puck, keeping it in the zone and dropping it to Semin, who made it 1-0 at 16:00 of the first period.

Ovechkin was credited with a secondary assist on the goal, the first of the series on a power play. Until then, Washington was 0 for 5, Boston 0 for 7.

The opening 20 minutes ended with a bit of a scrum several feet to Thomas' left. Nothing of the sort seen in the rowdy Flyers-Penguins series, but there was enough improper contact that two players began the second period off the ice: Washington's Backstrom for cross-checking, and Boston's Lucic for roughing.

With some 4-on-4 action, the teams produced two goals in 13 seconds.

Boston tied it at 1, with Peverley scoring off a slap shot from the left circle 35 seconds into the period.

It didn't take long for Ovechkin to respond.

Limited to zero goals - and only four shots on net - through the first two games, the two-time NHL MVP put Washington ahead 2-1 at 48 seconds. Laich lobbed a pass up ahead, and Ovechkin pounced, beating Seidenberg to the fluttering puck and one-timing a shot under Thomas' left leg.

The lead didn't last long, though. At 9:38 of the second period, Boston tied it, thanks to an unlikely source. Paille - who had nine goals all season, and none since Feb. 11 - batted down a rebound with his stick, then nimbly got around Holtby and poked home the puck to make it 2-all. Rolston put Boston ahead 62 seconds into the third period, before Laich temporarily evened the score.

NOTES: Ovechkin's goal allowed him to break a tie with coach Dale Hunter and move into second in Capitals history with 26 in the playoffs. Only Peter Bondra, with 30, scored more postseason goals for Washington. ... Thomas turned 38 on Sunday. Holtby is 22. ... The Bruins have won six consecutive road games, dating to the regular season.

--- With edits from

Scoring Summary
1st Period
16:00WSH PPG - Alexander Semin (1) ASST: Brooks Laich (1), Alex Ovechkin (2) 1 - 0 WSH
2nd Period
00:35BOS Rich Peverley (1) ASST: Zdeno Chara (1), Andrew Ference (1) 1 - 1 Tie
00:48WSH Alex Ovechkin (1) ASST: Brooks Laich (2), Roman Hamrlik (1) 2 - 1 WSH
09:38BOS Daniel Paille (1) ASST: Greg Zanon (1), Gregory Campbell (1) 2 - 2 Tie
3rd Period
01:02BOS Brian Rolston (1) ASST: Chris Kelly (2), Zdeno Chara (2) 3 - 2 BOS
14:00WSH Brooks Laich (1) ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (1), Mike Green (1) 3 - 3 Tie
18:07BOS Zdeno Chara (1) ASST: Patrice Bergeron (1), Dennis Seidenberg (1) 4 - 3 BOS
Penalty Summary
1st Period
01:14WSH Alexander Semin  Tripping against  Tyler Seguin
15:31BOS Zdeno Chara  Roughing against  Brooks Laich
17:22WSH Keith Aucoin  Tripping against  Joe Corvo
20:00WSH Nicklas Backstrom  Cross checking against  Milan Lucic
20:00BOS Milan Lucic  Roughing against  Nicklas Backstrom
2nd Period
05:18BOS Rich Peverley  Hooking against  Alexander Semin
06:03WSH Nicklas Backstrom  Tripping against  Dennis Seidenberg
13:19WSH Brooks Laich  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Milan Lucic
13:19BOS Milan Lucic  Unsportsmanlike conduct against  Brooks Laich
3rd Period
03:01WSH Jason Chimera  Slashing against  Brad Marchand
10:17BOS Dennis Seidenberg  Roughing against  Nicklas Backstrom
16:46WSH Nicklas Backstrom  Cross checking against  Brad Marchand
17:34BOS Milan Lucic  Roughing against  Karl Alzner
17:34BOS Milan Lucic  Roughing against  Karl Alzner
17:34WSH Matt Hendricks  Roughing against  Milan Lucic
20:00WSH Nicklas Backstrom  Match penalty against  Rich Peverley
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/51/4
Faceoff Wins3733
Blocked Shots2115
Penalty Minutes1426
6G. ZanonD0110011:51
11G. CampbellC0110011:29
12B. RolstonR1002013:05
14J. CorvoD0011012:28
17M. LucicL0003816:57
19T. SeguinC0002013:42
20D. PailleL1013010:13
21A. FerenceD0104019:21
22S. ThorntonL001107:31
23C. KellyC0121016:10
33Z. CharaD1203226:29
37P. BergeronC0102019:44
44D. SeidenbergD0112223:39
46D. KrejciC0001018:46
49R. PeverleyC1011219:02
55J. BoychukD0011022:14
63B. MarchandL00-10015:20
67B. PouliotL0002011:30
30T. Thomas2932.90660:00
6D. WidemanD00-20015:32
8A. OvechkinL1106020:29
19N. BackstromC01101621:29
20T. BrouwerR00-11016:16
21B. LaichC1211220:56
23K. AucoinC00-1027:11
25J. ChimeraL00-11211:06
26M. HendricksL0000210:50
27K. AlznerD00-13022:40
28A. SeminR10-12219:21
42J. WardR000105:20
44R. HamrlikD0114022:35
52M. GreenD0114026:35
55J. SchultzD00-2009:52
74J. CarlsonD00-14018:53
83J. BeagleR0002014:42
85M. PerreaultC00-1004:23
90M. JohanssonL00-23018:51
70B. Holtby2529.86258:59