Washington DC --
Thanks to the playmaking of Marc Savard
and the shootout heroics of rookie forward Phil Kessel and folk hero goalie Tim Thomas
, the Boston Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals, 3-2, Tuesday night in the nation's capital. Savard assisted on both Boston goals in regulation, while Kessel scored the second Bruins goal of the penalty shot contest after Thomas stopped two of Washington's three shots.
An obviously proud Boston head coach Dave Lewis could be seen congratulating his skaters after they came off the ice.
"Way to go, Phil. Atta-baby!" said Lewis, as his players went to the locker room victorious. "Way to go, Timmy, great job."
After composing himself, Lewis praised his team,
"It's a big win for us (because) we needed the two points against a team like that," said the coach. "We were scrapping for our points and that's what happened."
Despite playing in the home of NHL super sophomore Alexander Ovechkin, who was held scoreless on this night, Bruins goaltending was the big story early in the game and a big reason they left the DC area with two points in the standings.
Boston's Thomas made 10 big saves in the first period to keep the young and talented Washington Capitals off the scoreboard early.
But the B's started the game slowly too and with only two shots of their own in the opening stanza, they were also unable to fill in the official scoresheet before the first break.
The Black & Gold could, however, hang their hats on the newfound toughness that they displayed in the first 20-minutes. After first year B's defenseman Bobby Allen was run into the end boards by the Caps forward Ben Clymer, a new Bruins call-up, Jeremy Reich, scored a unanimous decision in the fighting department after he took on Clymer using his fists with decisive results.
"I thought Jeremy was very good," explained Lewis. "I thought he really gave us a bite (when) he got in a scrap."
The fine goaltending by Thomas continued in the second period as he made 10 more saves to keep the red light off behind him.
However, it was forward Brandon Bochenski, another recent Bruins arrival, who stole the stanza and the momentum for the Black & Gold. Gathering a loose puck after an offensive zone face-off, Bochenski batted the biscuit on a b-line toward the barrel guarded by Washington's Olaf Kolzig and beat the big goalie to put the B's up by a goal at 5:06.
"(Brandon) looked very comfortable on the ice after the first period," said Lewis. "He got a big goal for us and was dangerous."
Savard, wearing an "A" in lieu of injured alternate captain Glen Murray, earned his 67th point with an assist on Bochenski's first Bruins goal. Despite Savard's playmaking, however, the Capitals bounced back in the third period.
Brooks Laich (:21) and Eric Fehr (7:48) each scored to put Washington up 2-1, but Patrice Bergeron
continued his own fine play of late by earning a power play goal at 13:15 (from Savard, Zdeno Chara
) and sent the game to OT, and eventually a shootout, tied at 2-2.
After allowing an initial goal to Alexander Semin, Thomas shut the door on Washington, stopping Ovechkin and Eric Fehr.
"Semin is a very good shooter," explained Thomas, who finished regulation with 32 saves. "Once you get scored on the first one, sometimes it's tough (you think) maybe this isn't our night.
"But we got a goal on the second one…and going into the third shooter I was (thinking) if I stop this one maybe we can win this one."
It was Bergeron who tied the extra session with his goal and set the table for Kessel to put it away and prove Thomas prophetic.
"I'm just happy to get a win for our team," said Kessel, immediately following the game. "I got lucky out there in the shootout and we got the win -- that's the main thing."