Post-game notes: Capitals vs Bruins 2/5/12

The Bruins knew they were in a funk entering Washington, D.C. for today’s game. They knew that they had to shake things up if they expected to pull off a win. They had to be physical. They had to make smart plays. They had to see the ice and play the full sixty minutes.

Boston fans can rest easy because the Bruins were in the right state of mind when they entered the ice at the Verizon Center. They played hard, physical hockey. They played smart hockey. Claude Julien mixed up the lines to produce goals. They limited turnovers in the neutral zone. The whole team made a collective effort to focus and play hard for sixty minutes.

The Bruins started off the first period strong. Fans could sense that the Bruins were hungry. Maybe they had Super Bowl fever. In any case, Boston had not had consecutive losses since December and they did not want to slip farther down that slope. They skated with determination on the ice and forced turnovers by the Capitals throughout the game.

Julien began mixing up the lines in the first period to see what his team could do. He paired Lucic with Kelly and Peverley and watched as they played smart, determined hockey.  At 10:45 in the first period, Peverley passed the puck to Lucic who sailed it passed Vokoun for the first goal for the Bruins and the 19th of the year for Lucic.

The second goal was a sweet, quick back hand in front of the net from the little ball of hate, Brad Marchand, at 18:38 in the first period. Bergeron and McQuaid assisted. That was also Marchand’s 19th goal of the season.

The potent Field Trip Line was not done for the afternoon just yet. After a scoreless second period, the Bruins added another point to the scoreboard by Tyler Seguin, giving him his 20th goal of the season. Brad Marchand forced a turnover by a Capitals player in their own zone and passed it to Seguin for the tip-in. Patrice Bergeron was credited with his second assist of the night on Seguin’s goal alongside Marchand.

Thomas played strong between the pipes, but sadly, he did not earn the shut out. The Bruins allowed the Capitals to take advantage of the ice. Vokoun made a quick pass to Ward who skated it up the ice and passed several Bruins players into the Bruins zone. Johansson put it passed Thomas (and Seidenberg who was in front of the net) to tally a point for the Capitals at 12:04 in the third period. The Capitals started to play more aggressively after that goal and had the Bruins on their heels in their own zone for most of the third period.

Peverley sealed the deal with 0:41 to go in the third period with an empty net goal on a nice play and pass by Chris Kelly. That was Peverley’s 9th goal of the year.

After this win, the Bruins have moved within one point of the New York Rangers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Starting goaltender Tim Thomas recorded his 22nd win of the year between the pipes.  The Bruins make it their 33rd win of the season and snap their losing streak without a second glance. Fans can rest easy. The Bruins may have lost focus for a couple of games, but they were able to regain their confidence and win.

The Field Trip Line ended the night with a combined +7 rating (+2 for both Marchand and Seguin, +3 for Bergeron).

Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals did not capitalize on any of his seven shots on goal and ended the game with a -2 rating.

Now the Bruins can relax and cheer on the Patriots in the Super Bowl!

Final Score: BOS 4 – WAS 1

– Chelsey

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