The Boston Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals, 3-2, in downtown Boston's TD Banknorth Garden in front of 16,837 fans enjoying family night.
With help from Patrice Bergeron
, Bruins veteran forward Glen Murray beat Washington goalie Brent Johnson at 2:06 of sudden-death overtime and earned the Black & Gold their fourth win in a row and their first four game win streak since March 1994.
"We have to just maintain [this momentum] and continue to play hard," said Captain Zdeno Chara
following the win. "When you win games, your confidence level rises. And when you get to the point when you are going into overtime, or shootout, you just believe you are going to get it done."
Boston's P.J. Axelsson opened the scoring in the fist period at 1:09 when Bruins forward Marc Savard
sprinted down the left wing with the rubber biscuit and drew the Caps keeper, Johnson, too far out of his cage. Savard, noticing a teammate on his right, quickly dished to Axelsson, who scored into a yawning net for his sixth goal of the season and put the Bruins up 1-0.
Capitals forward Jakub Klepis tied the game 1-1 when he dashed over the blue line and beat the Bruins Tim Thomas
through the five hole at 7:02 to score his first goal of the season.
Despite the two goals in the session, the goaltenders were strong throughout the premiere period, Thomas made nine saves and Johnson made seven -- including several of the spectacular type to send the teams to the break tied.
The second period featured an upturn in physical play and two minor penalties on both sides. And, as in the first stanza, the goaltenders stopped everything that both offenses threw at them. Boston's Thomas and Washington's Johnson ended the period with 20 and 15 total saves through two periods, respectively.
But, the Capitals put themselves in an early hole in the third when they took two penalties (Ovechkin for boarding at 2:28 and Heward for hooking at 3:45) and were quickly down two men.
As such, Zdeno Chara
took a Savard pass from the goal line and the Bruins Captain buried a one-timer, which, thanks to an excellent Axelsson screen, went by Johnson to put the Bruins up 2-1.
It was a 5-on-3 power play goal and Chara's fourth of the season.
The Capitals got themselves into more trouble a few minutes later when Marco Sturm was tugged from behind on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. Unfortunately for the Bruins, however, Sturm was unable to capitalize and Johnson turned his shot attempt away at 8:39.
Late in the third period the Bruins had some penalty issues of their own, and were down two men with slightly over five minutes to play in the game. Boston valiantly killed the first penalty and were almost in the clear until, with one second remaining on the second Bruin penalty, super soph Alexander Ovechkin tied the score at 2-2 with his 13th of the year at 16:59 (assists to Matt Pettinger and Ricahrd Zednik).
For the third game in a row, a Boston contest went to sudden-death overtime. This time, however, it was Murray who wore the hero hat -- taking over from Bergeron who had made the game winning play three games in a row.
"It was kind've a broken play," said Murray. "I knew I had to go get it or it would be a hand pass, so I just got the puck in the slot and just shot it."
Murray took a loose puck in the Capitals zone and snapped it past Johnson, to send the building into a chaos not seen in the Garden for some time.
It was Murray's ninth goal of the campaign.
"This is a long season," said Murray, cautioning his team not to get too high. "It's still early, and it's good that we are above .500, but we…want to start climbing the standings."
Boston's Thomas, who earned his fourth win in a row, and finished with 27 saves, said that despite the late goal, the Bruins never gave up and in fact, were never down in the third period.
"I didn't really feel that deflated," he explained.
Thomas said that after Ovechkin's goal he thought to himself, "Oh boy, [the Caps late goal] made it a little more difficult, but we'll pull it out again.
"It's a mindset of playing to win," said Thomas.
Murray, Thomas and the rest of the Bruins will look to continue their hot streak on Monday when they play the Florida Panthers -- a 7:00 game on NESN and 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.