The Boston Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals 4-3 Thursday night in the TD Banknorth Garden. Washington's Chris Clark completed a natural hat trick in the second period to put the Bruins in a 3-0 hole. But Marco Sturm, Brandon Bochenski and Patrice Bergeron
all scored power play goals to tie the game 3-3 and send the game to OT. Rookie Phil Kessel scored the game-deciding goal in the shootout to give Boston the 4-3 win.
"You know what? We got a win," said Kessel when asked about his goal. "That's all that matters."
Veteran sniper Marc Savard
agreed with the rookie.
"Any comeback win is huge for the team's confidence," said Savard. "I've always said the character in this room…is strong and we proved it again, tonight."
Even before the puck dropped, the building displayed a truly festive atmosphere as the club celebrated St. Patrick's Day a little early, and distributed green ball caps with the Spoked-B and invited a U2 cover band (The Joshua Tree) to serenade the Garden throughout the proceedings.
But Washington sought to spoil the party and the Capitals jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Boston in the first period, bookending the stanza with a pair of Chris Clark goals.
Clark, the Washington captain, resurrected a long forgotten ECAC rivalry when he scored at 1:21 against Thomas, who played his college hockey at the University of Vermont. Clark, a South Windsor, Connecticut native, who toiled in college for the Clarkson Golden Knights, added another goal against his old UVM nemesis at 19:44.
Olaf Kolzig, in the Washington net, was outstanding in his first period back from injury, did not belie any rustiness and stopped all eleven shots that Boston sent towards his crease in the initial session.
The second period was fairly nondescript until the middle of the stanza when the physical part of the game took center stage. Andrew Alberts took on Matt Bradley in a battle near center ice at 11:15. Then just seconds later, Bruins forward Chuck Kobasew ignited the partisan crowd when he checked Shaone Morrisonn over the sideboards and into his own bench.
But Washington's Clark took back any momentum gained by the fight and the check when he completed the natural hat trick, the second three-goal game of his career, at 16:03.
"I played against him in college," said Bruins goalie Tim Thomas
, who after the victory, his 30th of the season, was able to chuckle. "He didn't have that shot in college."
With a two-man advantage, Sturm gave the home crowd something to cheer about at 18:24, as he finally bested Kolzig with help from Bergeron and Savard, and the B's went to the locker room trailing 3-1.
At the 30-second mark of the third period, on the power play, Bochenski scored his 12th of the season to make the score 3-2 with over 19 minutes to go in regulation. Then Bergeron added another power play goal to tie the score 3-3 at 1:35.
"To be able to turn it around in the middle of the game and to dig…back out of that hole is a good accomplishment," said Thomas, who finished with 36 saves in regulation.
"That comeback in the third period was awesome," said Bergeron, echoing Thomas' statements.
With a new game in the third stanza, the game got very tight and went to overtime in a deadlock and despite a late flurry in the OT, moved on to a shootout.
Boston's Bergeron and Washington's Ovechkin traded goals in the penalty shot contest, which set up Boston's "closer" Kessel.
"He's like Rivera from the Yankees," said Savard. "We put him in there late and there is a 90% chance he is going to give us the win."
Kessel beat Kolzig in the shootout to send the B's to the showers victorious.
"It feels good to get a win," repeated Kessel. "I just went out there and did my best.
"I got lucky, though. He is a great goalie. I was fortunate to put it in the net."
Kessel and the Bruins will try to take that luck (of the Irish?) to New York City on Saturday, St. Patrick's Day, to face off against the Rangers in Madison Square Garden.