WASHINGTON, DC --
In a shootout, the Boston Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 in front of 10,878 fans at the Verizon Center.
The Bruins skated to an early 2-0 lead over the Capitals as rookie center Phil Kessel, who jumped out of the penalty box after serving a Boston too many men on the ice penalty, took a gorgeous feed from B's assistant captain Glen Murray and skated half the rink to beat veteran Washington Ã¼ber-goalie, Olaf Kolzig, at 6:36 of the first period.
A few minutes later, Boston defenseman Brad Stuart, also fresh out of the penalty box after serving a hooking penalty, joined another Bruins rush and fired the biscuit through traffic and past the veteran Washington goaltender at 14:06.
The only black mark in the first period for the Bruins and the Boston starter Tim Thomas
was a short-handed goal at 16:00. Washington's Matt Pettinger took advantage of a Black & Gold break down at the Capitals blueline, picked up the puck and skated the length of the ice to beat Thomas, between the pads, to close the gap to 2-1 going into the first break.
DC's Danius Zubris took advantage of a Stanislav Chistov interference penalty to score a power play goal off a nifty pass from Alexander Ovechkin, last season's Calder Trophy winner, at 12:10 of the second.
However, Thomas, the Bruins goaltender, kept Boston in the game with 25 saves off 27 shots through two periods, while his opposite number, Kolzig was only tested 16 times, giving up two goals.
Despite a frenetic third period by the Boston squad, and the persistent buzzing of the Washington goal by B's Savard, Murray and Tenkrat, the game went to OT with the Bruins hoping their momentum would carry over into the extra period.
It did, but the Washington defense and Kolzig shut the door, kept the score tied through the extra session, and sent the game to the fan-friendly, but goalie-troubling, shootout.
As such, the Bruins bench, not having fared extraordinarily well in the tie breakers, donned impromptu "rally-helmets," and turned their protective lids around backward as the coaches submitted their list of shooters and the two opposing goalies waited patiently for the final dry scrape from the Zambonis.
"Guys got the rally-caps on which [was] a great thing to see," said a very happy Head Coach Dave Lewis describing the mood on the bench during the penalty shot session.
Perhaps it was the rally-caps, but Thomas and Patrice Bergeron
were the actual on-ice heroes in the penalty attempts. Thomas bested Alexander Semin, Ovechkin, and Pettinger in spectacular fashion, while Kolzig was himself bested, five-hole, by B's assistant captain Bergeron.
"Great job by Timmy Thomas," said Lewis after the game. "He made some key, key saves and in the shootout he was the difference."
"I was trying to go wide and change my angle with the puck," said Bergeron of his game-winning shot. "I wanted to make him move and open the five-hole. It worked."
A wide grinned Thomas explained how he determined his strategy in the shootout.
"We went over video today on [the Capitals] tendencies. And I think that helped -- although Ovechkin did the exact opposite than what he had done every time this year," said Thomas, who was a perfect 3-for-3 in save attempts in the penalty shot contest, and left the ice with a satisfied fist pump before being mobbed by his teammates.
You see, Thomas was determined to be the difference for his team.
"Those points, at the end of the year, could end up being key points," explained the Bruins goalie. "So I have to find some way to get some of them [through the shootout]. Maybe you can't get all of them, but I needed to start to win more than I've been."
The Bruins next play tomorrow at the TD Banknorth Garden versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. Game time is 7:00 and you can follow all the action on NESN or WBZ NewsRadio.
Tickets are available for all home games online by clicking here
, at the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office, or by phone at 617.624.BEAR. Through Thanksgiving, all children 12 years old and under will be admitted free with the purchase of a ticket for select seats.