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Game Day: Capitals vs. Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Washington  2 0 0 0 2

Boston      1 1 0 1 3

WSH:  Green, M. (02:08 in 1st), Nylander, M. (19:39 in 1st)
BOS:  Thornton, S. (09:26 in 1st), Savard, M. (PPG, 14:12 in 2nd), Krejci, D. (PPG, 01:55 in OT) GOALIES
WSH: J. Theodore (L)  BOS: T. Thomas (W)
3:05 - Krejci bounced the puck off Morrisonn and by Theo and into the goal. Boston wins! 3-2 in OT.

3:29 - Very nice save by Theodore on Krejci...

4:12 - Chara is pulled down and the B's get a four-on-three PP.

4:21 - Thomas with two gorgeous saves, first on Ovechkin and then on Backstrom...

5:00 - Overtime. It's four-on-four and sudden death...
0:00 - A late stop by Thomas and we're going to OT.

21.4 - Wideman with a shot from the point, Theodore says no.

47.9 - Icing Bruins. Time out Boston.

1:50 - Hnidy is stopped on the back door by Theodore...

4:24 - Fleischmann breaks up Boston's last attempt of their late man advantage.

5:32 - Theodore with a huge stop off a tic-tac-toe passing situation by Boston.

6:15 - Semin in the box for cross checking. Boston on the PP.

6:34 - Wrister by Thornton, Theo flags it down.

6:56 - Neither team is getting into their offensive zone, cleanly...

9:23 - Semin puts it right into Timmy's kitchen. Thomas held on for the draw.

9:31 - Icing Washington.

10:21 - Byron Bitz has taken on Don Brashear. And hey, Bitzy Cat did fine. Big Don had a big comeback late, but Byron hung in there. Nice job!

13:01 - Two-on-two shorthanded breakout by Krejci and Savard turns into a tough Savard shot that Theo stops, but that Ovechkin had to glove down and control.

Washington turned it around in the other direction and made Tim make a good save.

14:21 - Wheeler to the box for a hold.

14:45 - Another sellout. We have 17,565 here, tonight.

17:12 - Lucic puts a heavy shot into the shoulder of Theodore and the former Hart Trophy winner juggles it down and holds on.

18:36 - Wheels puts a shoulder into Ovechkin...

19:46 - Chuck Kobasew got hit with a stick and inadvertently put his stick into Semin. High sticking penalty to Chuck.

20:00 - Start of the Third.
0:00 - A better period for the B's. The score is 2-2.

Wondering if we'll see Ovechkin back on the ice. He was pretty upset...

49.5 - Wheels with a late shot that Theodore flags down and keeps.

1:12 - Timmy with a chest save. Shots are 25-15, Wash.

5:35 - An innocent looking play. But Zee got his stick into the midsection of Ovechkin. The star forward went very hard into the board.

The thing is, the fans didn't buy it. Some booed as if they thought Ovechkin was milking it.

Now, if he was or wasn't, he was pretty annoyed on the bench and threw his gloves, helmet and stick down the hallway.

Chara got a minor...

5:48 - Bergeron stops a Washington clearing attempt with a dive. He got up, and from the boards, passed to Savard. Savvy out-waited Theo and the Washington D and put it into the Washington net.

7:22 -  Michael Nylander goes to the box for hooking. It's four-on-four for a little bit...

9:07 - Yelle for hooking. Caps on the PP.

9:40 - Sensing the club needs some energy, the crowd starts chanting, "Let's go Bruins..."

11:50 - Ovechkin with another heavy hit on Wheeler.

13:18 - Theodore makes a sprawling save to keep his club up by one...

14:22 - Another nice defensive play by Wideman breaks up a two-on-two.

16:31 - Theodore kicks a tough bid by Kobasew away with his right pad. Shots are 16-10, Wash.

18:06 - Ovechkin laid a pretty good hit on Wheels...

19:23 - Kobasew in the box for hooking. Washington is on their second power play.

20:00 - Start of the second. Do-over!
0:00 - End of the First. An ugly goal and a pretty forgettable period for the B's.

20.7 - You could see that coming. Boston just looked out of sorts. There was a delayed call (I think) and the puck just trickled through Thomas. Michael Nylander got the goal, with assists to Fleischmann and Clark.

2:39 - Not much going on on that man advantage.

4:40 - Donald Brashear hit Shane Hnidy from behind and got a minor (cross checking) for the trouble. Boston is back on the PP. They are 0/1 on the night.

8:09 - Lucic with a big hit on Fleischmann...

8:33 - Icing Boston.

10:34 I That was one of the prettiest goals of the year. Thornton just waltzed, and I do mean waltzed, into the space to Theodore's right, and backhanded the puck over the stunned goalie. It's 1-1.

11:03 - The Savard line caused a bit of havoc in front of the Washington net, but Theo held on.

12:00 - Hunwick did not look out of place on the wing...

12:49 - Wideman rides a heretofore wide open Laich off the puck, easily.

14:55 - Nice thought Thorts. From outside the circle to Theo's right, Thornton puts a hot shot on goal. Jose held on for the faceoff.

15:45 - Theodore makes his first save...

17:02 - Clark is in the box for goalie interference. Boston's first PP.

17:52 - Washington scores. No fault of Thomas. He made five saves and then a shot went through bodies and beat Tim glove side high. Green had the shot, with helpers to Semin and Ovechkin. It was even strength goal, BTW.

18:48 - Timmy's first save...

19:53 - Washington wins the draw. Jurcina got clipped by Savard up high. High sticking.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. With their new lineup, it would be great for the Bruins to get a lucky goal early.

Washington Starters: Laich, Jurcina, Alzner, Semin, Fedorov, Theodore
Boston Starters: Ference, Wideman, Lucic, Savard, Kobasew, Thomas

Let's switch to time on the clock...

6:38 p.m.
The Lines

Kessel, Fernandez

6:33 p.m.
It's Thomas vs. Theodore.

Bergeron, Ference and Lucic are on the ice for Boston. Ryder is not.

6:28 p.m.
Press Box Notes
Tonight is “Go Red” Night at the Garden. The Bruins have teamed up with the American Heart Association to support the Go Red for Women movement, an initiative meant to engage women, and the men who love them, to make personal choices that may be potentially life saving. In addition to hosting cardiac patients and survivors that are being treated at hospitals in the Greater Boston area, the team will host an on-ice shootout competition between two cardiac survivors during the second intermission: 25-year-old Michaela Gagne from Fall River, MA and mother-of-5 Shannon Lawn from Watertown, MA.  Michaela was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome as an athlete in high school and has gone on to become Miss Massachusetts 2006 and a national spokesperson for the AHA. Shannon was diagnosed with a Heart Arrhythmia in 2004 while she was pregnant and went on to give birth to triplets.

Other stories...
  • Beginning tonight, the first place Bruins take on the Eastern Conference’s top teams points-wise in their next five games. They host second place Washington tonight, third place New Jersey on Thursday, and fifth place New York Rangers on Saturday, and will travel to fourth place Montreal on Sunday and sixth place Philadelphia next Wednesday.
  • Patrice Bergeron is expected to return to the Bruins lineup tonight after missing the last 15 games with a concussion suffered on December 20 against Carolina. Andrew Ference is expected to return to the lineup after missing the last 31 games with a broken leg suffered on November 13 against Montreal. Milan Lucic is expected to return to the Bruins lineup tonight after missing the last seven games with an undisclosed injury. He last played on January 6 against Minnesota.
  • Marc Savard has a four game point streak in progress with 2-2-4 totals.
  • For the Capitals, forward Alex Ovechkin is the league’s leading goal scorer with 31 and ranks third in points with 59. Ovechkin and Marc Savard played on the same line at the NHL All-Star Game this past weekend, with Savard having an assist on Ovechkin’s goal.
  • The Capitals haven’t allowed an even strength goal in more than three games, spanning 198:34.
  • Caps forward Alexander Semin has a six-game point streak in progress with 4-3-7 totals.

5:57 p.m.
Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara returned to the fold this morning after having a one-day break following his all-star journey to Quebec.

Asked if the Bruins had proven anything with their showing at the All-Star Game in Montreal and if their success had reinforced the club's success in the first half Chara seemed to point forward.

"That's what the standings are showing right now," said Chara. "We on top of our conference, but that doesn't mean anything if you don't continue to perform, play hard and show [up].

"You have to come out every night and show that you are one of the better teams -- that's another goal

"We have to show and accomplish (something). We still have to compete and finish the season strong and (our play) is even more important now than it was in the first half," he said.

Looking at the schedule, nothing is going to come easily for the Bruins in January or February.

"There are some really quality teams that we're facing," said Chara. "It's a good challenge."

But on Tuesday,  the Bruins lineup should be reanimated with some additions.

"It's nice to have them back," said Chara of his formerly injured teammates Bergeron, Ference and Lucic. "We have our regulars coming back and it's nice to have to have the full lineup."

4:31 p.m.
Other injuries...
Boston Bruins goalie Manny Fernandez tries to control the puck after a save during the first period of their 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in a hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Yesterday, Coach Julien gave updates on three of his injured players.

"[Manny Fernandez] is probably going to miss a few days here again," he said. "It’s just...general soreness.

"It’s really not that serious, but it’s one of those things where we [could] give him a few days.

"At the same time upper management thought it would be a good time to kind of do it that way and give Tuukka Rask an opportunity to come up here as well," he said.

And Phil Kessel?

"When you’ve got mono [you] can’t take any contact," said Julien. "So, that’s why he stepped on the ice afterwards.

"Even if he wasn't participating in battle drills, if he collided with somebody that’s a danger so that’s why we put him on the ice later.

"His condition could change any day. If he gets tested and his spleen is fine then he’s free to go. He’s feeling good, obviously feeling much better, he seems to have a lots of energy, now it’s just a matter of waiting for the medical clearance," he said.

Marco Sturm is out of commission, however.

"With the type of surgery he’s had, he’s done for the year," said Julien, who indicated that Sturm's surgery went well. "It’s normally almost an eight-month process, I think, and I know there’s other guys six months later they’re back."

3:38 p.m.

Jose Theodore will be in goal vs. Boston
This morning, Claude Julien looked toward tonight's game (and beyond) with a cautious eye.

"These next three weeks are huge for us," he said. "You talk about dictating how the second half is going to go.

"We’re not a team that looks too far ahead, but we also realize what kind of schedule we have. Starting tonight, they’re going to be tough ones.

"Again that may not be a bad thing for our team. We want to fine tune ourselves and we know that we can still play a little better and this might give us an opportunity to find that game," he said.

On Monday, just an hour or two after he arrived home from Montreal, Julien was already talking about the Capitals.

"I think, the last time we played them, we did a pretty good job against that pretty potent offense," he said. "You know, (Alexander) Semin, he’s coming around. They’ve got (Sergei) Federov, they’ve got some guys who can really score some goals.

"But I think it was offensively that we didn’t create much and they bottled us up pretty good there in the neutral zone and I think if we can get a little better in that area and create a little more offense, hopefully that will give us the success we need against this team."

Both games against the Caps have ended with the Bruins on the short side, so motivation should be no problem for Boston.

"We’ve got a couple teams that we should have no problem getting motivated against and that’s one of them," said Julien. "We played both good games, tight games, but still haven’t got a point off these guys yet."

1:34 p.m.
All-Star Wrap Up
Alex Ovechkin, of the Washington Capitals, collides with goaltender Tim Thomas, of the Boston Bruins, during the Elimination Shootout during the NHL All-Star Superskills competition in Montreal on Saturday Jan. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Ryan Remiorz)
On Sunday night, following his Eastern Conference club’s win over the West, and surrounded by the familiar faces of the Boston beat writers who cover the Bruins each day, Claude Julien said that his own Bruins All-Star representatives had done a terrific job during their short stay in Montreal.

"I think you come here to have fun, but you also have a lot of pride,” he said. “You want to represent your organization well, and our guys were outstanding in that.

“Tim [Thomas], in the shootout, stood tall, with that big save at the end with the stretched out pad; Zee [Chara] winning the competition for hardest shot; you've got Savvy making it to the last two in the shootout; MVP for Wheeler.

“Every one of our players stood out at one point, and that's great for our organization and those guys certainly made the organization proud.”

The players looked the part, too. On Sunday, each member of the Boston contingent was visibly happy to have played a part in what was a terrific show for the city of Montreal and the NHL at large.

“I hope the fans enjoyed it,” said Thomas. “I know all-star games can sometimes be a little bit boring, not a lot of defense, but I think when it's that tight all the way to the end, and the overtime and a shootout, it sounded like they got into it.

“I just hope it was a good show for them.”

Marc Savard, McDonald's Accuracy Shooting
Savard, who consistently showed his playmaking ability during the big game on Sunday night was beaming.

“Oh, it was fabulous,” he said. “Playing with Ovechkin…we had a lot of fun tonight, even on the bench.

“We were kind of joking after the first period, he was kind of mad we only had two shifts, but the guys were all saying, ‘Yeah, but you guys were out there for eight minutes.’

“So we had a lot of fun,” said Savard.

Chara, the Bruins captain, kept his reputation as the NHL’s hardest shot, and was thrilled to have been able to bring home $24,000 for his charity, Right to Play.

“It was very special to me,” said Chara, softly. “I will probably never forget it.”

Nobody will. After all, his 105.4 mph bullet is a new record in the NHL.

"Records are meant to be broken,” said Chara, “And I'm just glad I could get this one over with.

Defenceman Zdeno Chara, of the Boston Bruins, celebrates after hitting a 105.4km/hr shot in the Hardest Shot contest to set a new record during the YoungStars game at the NHL All-Star weekend in Montreal, Saturday Jan. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)
“It's been 16, 17 years [since the last one was set], so we'll see how long it's going to take to break this one.”

And although Blake Wheeler was through with his experience by the time the final verdict was reached on Sunday night, his sentiments about his experience on Saturday in the YoungStars game seem to describe the weekend perfectly.

"Just walking out there and seeing the crowded building, and even in the YoungStars game and the skills competition, just to see all the fans, all the noise they make and how passionate they are…we just wanted to make plays out there,” he said.
“That's what it's all about, making plays and doing things for the fans.

"It's showing the fans what everyone's capable of and just having a good time out there.”

It seems like the Bruins have that exercise down pat.

1:22 p.m.

Bergeron Returns
Patrice Bergeron walks to the ice in the Bruins new third jersey. (Photo: Babineau)
"He's in," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien of forward Patrice Bergeron.

The two words brought a reinvigorated feeling to the Garden this morning as the Bruins prepared to face off against their Eastern Conference rivals, the Washington Capitals, on Tuesday evening.

"We were looking forward to having him back in the lineup," said Julien. "He’s feeling good and we’re glad to have him back and I think under the circumstances this is a real positive and great news for our hockey club.

Additionally, Andrew Ference and Milan Lucic will be on tonight's roster.

"Yeah, Milan’s in the lineup tonight," said Julien. "Everybody except for [Phil] Kessel (mono) and probably [Michael] Ryder (flu-like symptoms) are the guys that may not play tonight."

And while everyone is thrilled, there will actually be some adjustments that need to be made. For instance, there will probably be seven defensemen on the roster, tonight.

"Yeah, and it’s not a bad thing either," explained Julien. "You’ve got Ference coming in for the first time tonight, we know Ward’s come back from an injury and just played one game so if we run in to some situations, I think a lot of teams do that, just dress seven D’s. Matt Hunwick you might see him as a forward at times. He’s a great skater, he’s played a little bit there in college so you might spot him on the wing at times tonight.

"It’s just like anything else, [if] the guy’s been out for a while, certainly you’re going to gauge and see how he’s doing during the game," said Julien. "[Ference’s] in real good shape, but...not having played for this long is another thing."

Also, depending on Ryder's availability, Bergeron may be playing right wing.

"We have...guys that are more offensive minded, we’ve got guys that are checkers and we just kind of have to balance the lines out," said Julien. "Basically, moving him up on the wing for the time being is the right move for us. He’s played the wing before and there’s no doubt he’ll be more than happy to, more or less, bail us out."

Julien was happy to finally have some of his missing pieces back in the box, but tried not to get over excited.

"We’ve been waiting for that for a while," he said. "But again, just when you think you’ve got them all back, there’s a couple of guys that are being pulled out.

"Ryder doesn’t look good for tonight and then [with] Kessel we'll keep our fingers crossed that it’s going to be sooner than later."
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