While most of the country, especially New England and New York, were gearing up for the Super Bowl, the Boston Bruins were facing off against the Washington Capitals in an afternoon matinee showdown in Washington, D.C. The Bruins, who had lost three of their last four, were trying to prevent their first three game losing streak since October.
Bruins’ goalie Tim Thomas, who made national headlines by not appearing at the White House last month to be honored by President Obama, appeared in his second straight game in as many days. His counterpart in Washington’s net was Tomas Vokoun.
Both teams had some solid rushes during the first few minutes but Boston was applying the most pressure. Just two minutes in and Johnny Boychuk missed a quick one timer as he beat Alexander Ovechkin to a loose puck, but couldn’t beat Vokoun as he missed the net wide. Midway through the first and most of the play had been in Washington’s zone, however many of Boston’s shots never reached the net, either as a result of blocked shots or shots missing their mark wide.
Boston capitalized first on a two on two rush as Milan Lucic received a pass from Richard Peverley and patiently deked Vokoun down to the ice and then roofed it for a 1-0 lead. Lucic’s 19th goal of the season seemed to be a wakeup call for Washington because shortly after going down one, they barraged Thomas with multiple shots. Thomas was up to the challenge, turning away every shot.
With 2:30 left in the first Thomas made a great save on an Alexander Semin breakaway chance. The Bruins fed off of the save and Brad Marchand chipped in a backhander to give Boston a 2 to 0 lead at the end of the first period.
The second period began with the Bruins on the power play for 40 seconds due to a carryover of Matt Hendricks’ roughing call at the end of the first. The Bruins couldn’t convert but definitely gained momentum. The Bruins continued to pressure Vokoun for the rest of the period, but couldn’t squeak anything past him.
Vokoun kept the Capitals in the game when he came up with a shoulder save on a Zdeno Chara slap shot. Washington went to the locker room down two goals and down one player as Brooks Laich was injured on a Dennis Seidenberg check behind the Boston net.
The third period saw some back and forth action but was ultimately decided when Tyler Seguin added the insurance goal with 13 minutes left in the third period, as he tipped in a Brad Marchand pass past Vokoun for a 3 to 0 Bruins’ lead. Marcus Johansson broke Thomas’ shutout bid with 8 minutes left in the game as he deflected a pass into a wide open net. Washington pulled their goalie to gain an extra attacker to no prevail, as Peverley iced the game when he scored an empty net goal with 41 seconds left in the game.
Thomas made 35 saves in the winning effort. The Bruins are off until Wednesday when they’ll take on the Sabres in Buffalo.