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Game Day: Capitals vs. Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
Washington 1 1 1 1-4

Boston 1 1 1 0-3

First Period-1, Washington, Backstrom 17 (Semin, Green), 3:36 (pp). 2, Boston, Hunwick 5 (Savard, Kessel), 5:03.

Second Period-3, Washington, Ovechkin 45 (Bradley, Jurcina), 8:48. 4, Boston, Kessel 26 (Savard, Hunwick), 9:06.

Third Period-5, Washington, Fleischmann 17 (Laich, Poti), 2:20 (pp). 6, Boston, Chara 15 (Bergeron, Savard), 15:23 (pp).

Overtime-7, Washington, Semin 24 (Green, Schultz), :22.

Shots on Goal-Washington 12-12-7-1-32. Boston 9-13-15-0-37.

Goalies-Washington, Theodore. Boston, Thomas. A-17,565 (17,565). T-2:24.

Overtime Reap: Alexander Semin scored on a long floater that Tim Thomas was not able to handle and the Boston Bruins fell to the Washington Capitals, 4-3 in OT.
4:38 - Oh no. That's too bad. A long shot gets through Thomas. Semin gets the goal and the Caps get the win. Ouch...

5:00 - Overtime.
Third Period Recap: Tomas Fleischman scored his 17th of the season off a Brooks Laich pass and put the Caps in a good position early at 2:20 of the third. But on the power play, Patrice Bergeron found Zdeno Chara and the defenseman fired a hard wrist shot, which beat Jose Theodore and forced overtime.
0:00 - Good work in the third by Boston forces OT.

32.0 - Save Thomas.

1:06 - Stop by Thomas. Whoa...

1:19 - Icing Washington.

1:30 - Bergy with a shot that tests Theodore. But he holds on.

2:34 - Hnidy touches up for the Washington icing.

4:37 - Goaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal. Chara was in the middle of the circle to the right of Theodore and Zee didn't miss when the puck made it to him on the dot. GORGEOUS!

5:08 - Slashing on the Caps. Backstrom is in the box.

7:33 - Theodore comes up big again, and frustrates the B's PP.

9:06 - Laich to the box for interference.

12:45 - Bradley in the box for cross checking. Boston is 0/1 on the PP.

13:14 - Off a gorgeous feed by Wheeler, Krejci hit the post.

15:22 - Thomas and Ference combine to stop a Washington breakaway by Fehr...

17:40 - As sometimes happens, a fluke goal might decide this and Washington just got a fluke goal. Fleischmann's shot went off of a Bruins defenseman's foot and right into the goal. It's 3-2, Caps. Assists to Poti and Laich.

That took the air right out of this building.

19:24 - Krejci is in the box for hooking Green. Wash is 1/3 on the PP.

20:00 - Start of the Third.
Second Period Recap: The second period was punctuated by terrific goaltending by Thomas and Theodore, but the teams traded goals to head into the second intermission tied at two. Alexander Ovechkin reveled in the boos that rained down on him when he scored at 8:48, but the Garden erupted when Phil "The Thrill" Kessel scored off a pass by Savard (two assists on the night) to keep things knotted up.
0:00 - End of the second. Another exciting period. Shots are 24-22, Caps. Both goaltenders have been outstanding and there has been a lot of action.

24.8 - This time Thornton is robbed by Theodore, who is playing much better then we've seen...

1:15 - Icing Boston.

2:09 - A nice hit by Hunwick caused a Washington icing...

4:11 - A good PK for the B's. Shots are 22-20, Wash.

6:36 - Wideman to the box. Two minutes for interference.

6:53 - Thomas stopped Laich cold on a breakaway.

7:23 - The Bergeron line gives the Caps a scare. Kobasew ran someone over, Bergeron was robbed twice. A great sequence...

9:46 - Icing Boston. Shots are 18-14, Boston.

10:54 - Ha! Hunwick to Savard to Kessel. A very pretty goal for Boston follows a very pretty goal by Washington. It's 2-2.

11:12 - Man oh man is he dangerous. Ovechkin got loose over to Thomas' right and wristed a LAZER past Timmy. It's 2-1, Wash.

14:28 - Could be a pivotal moment: Thomas made two very difficult saves on Kozlov.

15:54 - A big hit by Thornton on Poti...

16:54 - Thomas holds on to dump into the zone.

17:29 - I believe Yelle just returned to the bench.

19:03 - I don't see Stephane Yelle.

20:00 - Start of the Second. We are sold out. 17,565.
First Period Recap: The Washington Capitals scored early, on a power play off of a Marc Savard hooking call, when Nicklas Backstrom buried a rebound off of a Alexander Semin shot that Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas had kicked into the slot. But the B's, and Savard, responded later in the period. Savard, working behind the Washington net, passed out to the front of the net and Matt Hunwick, a defenseman playing forward on the B's top line, pounded the pass through Washington goalie Jose Theodore to cement the score at 0-0 going into the break.
0:00 - End of the first. A decent period for both clubs, but the B's  seemed to take a measure of control after the Hunwick goal.

1:14 - Poor Stephane Yelle took a puck in the kisser on the bench. He looked okay, but went to the runway with Don Delnegro, nonetheless.

4:24 - After Chara jettisoned his stick, Semin tripped Chara and ended up in the box. The whole thing was preceded by Thomas making a great save. Shots are 10-8, Caps.

5:40 - Ryder pulled a Cap down and he is in the box for hooking. Wash is 1/1 on the PP.

6:19 - Fleischmann shoots and Tim Thomas made a strong save on the winger to preserve the tie.

10:37 - The Garden faithful have taken to booing Ovechkin every time (and for the duration) he gets the puck. This time his possession was punctuated by a round of applause as Aaron Ward hit him hard behind the goal.

14:57 - Hunwick scores! A very smart hockey player, he was in perfect position to get Savard's pass and beat Theodore. Give Kess the other assist.

Can't tell you how much I enjoy seeing Hunwick succeed as he is a very hard worker and has dealt with sitting with a ton of class...

15:10 - Wheeler just missed (but hit the water bottle)...

16:24 - Backstrom buried a big rebound off of Thomas' right pad. It's 1-0, Caps. Semin had the initial shot, and Green gets the other assist.

17:11 - Bergeron made Theodore work for a save while shorthanded...

17:20 - Savard to the box for a minor. Two-minutes for hooking.

17:46 - Kessel is stopped by Theodore.

19:58 - Washington wins the first draw...

20:00 - Start of the First Period. "This is a huge game," said Mr. Obvious.

Washington Starters:
Fleischman, Fehr, Steckel, Green, Schultz, Theodore
Boston Starters: Wheeler, Krejci, Ryder, Hnidy, Stuart, Thomas

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

1:03 p.m.
Seven D
Boston is dressing Matt Hunwick. Sobotka, Karsums and Lucic are the non-IR scratches.

1:01 p.m.
Coach Boudreau on the Caps season series with Boston...
“[It's been] tight. I mean, 2-1 and 4-1, and 3-2, I mean, we’ve given up five goals against the highest-scoring team in the conference. So it’s been shown that when we have to shut it down, we have the capability. And hopefully [the Capitals] realize…and do the same thing again today."

12:59 p.m.

Coach Julien on the B's season series with Washington...
"They’ve been close [games]. All games have been close, and again, I’m sure we wish we could have played a little better in Washington, but in certain areas I felt we weren’t as good.  But they’re good match-ups. They’re a highly-skilled team that has earned respect around the league for that part of their game, and I think it’s created some good games. I think there’s been a great match-up there, and [Alexander] Ovechkin and [Zdeno] Chara creates a pretty interesting match-up for everybody. So it’s been great. All I can say is that they’ve been close games, and I don’t anticipate anything different today."

12:56 p.m.
Press Box Notes...

Today is game three of a six game homestand for the Bruins. Through the first two games, the Bruins are 2-0 and have outscored the opposition 12-1. The homestand continues when the Bruins face the Flyers on 3/3, Coyotes on 3/5 and Blackhawks on 3/7.

Other stories...
  • Goaltender Tim Thomas is expected to make this third straight start between the pipes for the Bruins today. In 40 games this year, he has registered a 27-8-5 record. Thomas leads all NHL goaltenders in both Goals Against Average (2.01), and Save Percentage (.934).
  • Wednesday, March 4 is the NHL’s trade deadline. The Bruins Communications Department will issue a media advisory early next week containing relevant schedule information and media availability for March 4.
  • P.J. Axelsson’s month-long “P.J.’s Pajama Drive” concludes today with an in-game pajama collection to benefit Cradles to Crayons, a local charitable organization that assists homeless and in-need children. Axelsson and his wife, Siw (pronounced “SEEV”), started P.J.’s Pajama Drive during the 2007-08 season.
  • Bruins forward Milan Lucic is expected to miss tonight’s game with an upper body injury.
  • For the Capitals, forward Nicklas Backstrom has an eight game point streak in progress with 3-8-11 totals over that span.
  • Washington has scored in the first period of 14 straight games and is 12 for 23 on the power play in the first period of their last 13 games. Washington’s power play ranks third in the NHL on the power play (24.2%). Defenseman Mike Green leads the NHL with 16 power play goals this season.
  • The Bruins and Capitals currently rank first and second overall in the Eastern Conference. Here is how they statistically match up, with their Eastern Conference ranks in (parenthesis):
              Pts.      Goals For   Goals Against   Goal Differential   PP%       PK%
BOS:     92 (1)  212 (1)        138 (1)               +74 (1)                   22.8 (2)   83.6 (2)
WSH:    83 (2)  207 (2)        179 (8)               +28 (3)                   24.2 (1)   80.0 (11)
  • Thursday, February 26 marked the first day that new full season tickets could be purchased for the Bruins 2009-2010 season (season ticket renewals have been ongoing since February 16). An excess of 2,500 new full season ticket plans had been purchased since Thursday.

12:40 p.m.
Thanks to a quick glance to my right, a confused  "huh" and a little patient help from The Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa...

Here are what the lines looked like in warmups:

Karsums, Lucic, Nokelainen

12:28 p.m.
It's Timmy Thomas vs. Jose Theodore. Ovechkin slid into the blueline (a la second base) in a distinctive entry into his warmup stretches.

Marc Savard, Vladimir Sobotka, Aaron Ward and Matt Hunwick are on the ice.

Coach Julien said that Milan Lucic is day-to-day and will not play today.

12:21 p.m.
Sobotka was clearly happy to be back.

“For me, every time I get called up, I’m glad I can play in the NHL," said the Czech-born forward. "It’s my fifth call up, and I have to play better than I played [last time], and try to stay here.

"I didn’t play well against Florida [and] I know it, so I didn’t play next game.

"They sent me down to Providence…and then they called me back," he said.

Asked what he would like to change in his game, tonight. Sobotka did not get into specifics, save one thing.

“I always try my best, to play the best I can on the ice," adding, "and play like coach wants."

The young skater is learning fast!

11:11 a.m.
Vladimir Sobotka is in the house and said he travelled 11-hours by bus to Norfolk, VA, just to turn around and hop a flight back to Washington, DC and then on to Boston.

Nevertheless, Vladi's omnipresent off-ice smile was intact.

Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau said his lineup would be the same as his last game, a 4-3 win over Atlanta in Washington, DC on Thursday:

10:12 a.m.
Speaking of Tim Thomas, "The Tank" reached earned a couple of nice distinctions on Thursday.

First, he had an assist -- the first of the season (he had one called back earlier this year) and second of his career. It was also the last assist by a Boston goalie since April 13th, 2006 (Thomas' first assist).

The 6-0 win over Anaheim was Tim's 100th NHL victory and represented his fourth shutout of the season. That's a new NHL season high for Tim (who had 15 shutouts for Jokerit Helsinki in 2004-05).

Much has been made of Tim's "late blooming" but all of that really has to stop and focus must be placed on how good he is right now.

Thomas is 100-70 -25 in 205 career NHL games. His save percentage is .918 and his goals against average is 2.64.

This year he is 27-8-5 with a .934 sv% and a 2.01 GAA.

9:23 a.m.

There's no formal morning skate for either club today, so if we run into anyone it will be after 10:30 a.m.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien will be speaking to the press at 11:50 a.m.

On Thursday night, postgame, the B's head coach was pleased with the emotion the Black & Gold displayed against the rough and tumble Ducks.

"We talked about putting some emotion in our game when we were sliding a little bit: weren’t finishing our checks, we didn’t play with the same kind of emotion, and we obviously weren’t scoring much," he said. "But I think putting some emotion in the game, and putting some jam and grit into it allowed us to score some goals as well.

"So both are great for our team right now."

Hopefully the Bruins can transfer some of that emotion over to today's game against Washington, but how they do that is probably in the hands of each individual skater.

Young Matt Hunwick, just 23 and recent captain of the Michigan Wolverines (during his senior year of 2006-07), skated as a forward during much of Friday's practice in Wilmington.

But the talented young defenseman was already talking about the Capitals on Thursday night.

"This game’s already behind us and we’re already looking forward to the next one," he said. "Obviously, you [talk about Alex] Ovechkin and the rest of the team there is pretty good.

"I had the chance to watch them last Sunday and they’re obviously a dangerous team offensively so it will be a good challenge for us."

Tim Thomas, perhaps due to his laid back origins at the University of Vermont (in Burlington, home of Phish and Ben & Jerry's), bur more likely due to his 34 years on the planet, has a bit of a different approach.

"It’s five minutes after this game," he said on Thusday. "We’ve got to kind of revel in the feeling of that you’ve [put in some] nice work for tonight and then tomorrow morning you start thinking about Washington."

"I haven’t even started thinking about Saturday yet.

"I think that’s the way we’ve done well -- approaching it that way -- and I think that’s the way we should continue to approach things."

Well, it's just that kind of youthful exuberance and veteran savvy that is going to get the Bruins into April. After all, there's not just one way to play hockey. No?
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