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Capitals turn out Laich on Bruins

04.05.10 at 10:12 pm ET
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Summary ‘€“ Brooks Laich poked in a loose rebound just 44 seconds into overtime as the Washington Capitals claimed a 3-2 overtime win against the Bruins at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Monday night.

The game-winning goal came on the power play as Dennis Wideman was whistled for a high-sticking penalty just 24 seconds into the five-minute overtime.

Alex Ovechkin assisted on the power play score, as the Bruins moved just one point ahead of the eighth-place Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference.

The Bruins had to play the game without defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who skated in pre-game but couldn’t make a go of it after taking 15 stitches to close a gash in his left wrist on Saturday in Toronto.

Considering the Bruins faced the top-scoring team in the NHL on their home ice and without a top-four defenseman, their effort was as much about courage as it was execution.

And they were just mere millimeters away from a one-goal lead after a 20 minutes.

Niklas Backstrom’s shot trickled by Tuukka Rask at 7:36 of the first period. Wideman came to the rescue but just a half-second late as the puck was ruled to have cleared the goal line for a 1-0 Capitals lead. Alex Ovechkin fed Backstrom across the slot to set up the score.

The scoring chances were again plentiful for the Bruins and it seemed for the first 19 minutes, 58.4 seconds of the opening period, they would be frustrated again.

But with 1.6 seconds left, it was Wideman of all people, who blasted a slap shot past Jose Theodore to tie the game.

Prior to that goal, the Bruins spent the final 60 seconds of the first period in the Washington zone, peppering Theodore.

And just after Backstrom’s goal, Michael Ryder had three great chances from close in but couldn’t finish.

The Bruins picked themselves up off the mat with 1.6 seconds left in the first period to tie the game going into intermission with some valuable momentum.

This time – with 28.8 seconds to go in the second – the Caps took that momentum away with a goal from Mike Knuble, who crashed Tuukka Rask. For Knuble, it was his 47th of the season for the Capitals, making it 2-2 after two periods.

The goal was originally credited to Knuble then changed to Ovechkin and then back to Knuble. Ovechkin has two assists tonight.

Since Wideman scored late in the first, the Bruins appeared to be energized. That was apparent when Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic crashed Jose Theodore, with Bergeron stuffing one past the Washington goalie for his 19th of the season.

Three Stars

Alex Ovechkin ‘€“ One of the most skilled players in the world showed why you don’t have to score to dominate. Ovechkin did precisely that by commanding extra defensive attention on a depleted team that could ill afford the luxury. He made them pay by assisting on all three goals.

Patrice Bergeron ‘€“ He, along with linemate Milan Lucic seemed re-energized since Michael Ryder was placed on the checking line. Both rushed the net frequently, putting pressure on Jose Theodore, getting rewarded in the second when Bergeron scored his 19th to give Boston a 2-1 lead.

Dennis Wideman ‘€“ Yes, he was called for an overtime high-stick that was embellished with theatrics that led to the game-winner by Laich, but Wideman all night seemed to be in the right place, if not the right time. His cannon of a shot past Theodore with 1.6 seconds left in first period, tied the game.

Key play ‘€“ Brook Laich’s game-winner. Alexander Semin, who escaped a high-sticking call on Zdeno Chara in the second period, took a shot from the left circle. But Rask couldn’t contain and Laich was there to put it back and give Washington a remarkable 116 points on the season.

Turning point ‘€“ David Krejci’s near miss in final minute. The forward fired wide on Theodore who was late to slide over, otherwise it’s the Bruins who skate out of the national capital with their most satisfying win of the season.

Read More: Bruins, Capitals, NHL, NHL power rankings

Second period summary: Bruins vs. Capitals

04.05.10 at 8:53 pm ET
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The Bruins picked themselves up off the mat with 1.6 seconds left in the first period to tie the game going into intermission with some valuable momentum.

This time – with 28.8 seconds to go in the second – the Caps took that momentum away with a goal from Mike Knuble, who crashed Tuukka Rask. For Knuble, it was his 47th of the season for the Capitals, making it 2-2 after two periods.

The goal was originally credited to Knuble then changed to Alex Ovechkin and then back to Knuble. Ovechkin has two assists tonight.

Since Dennis Wideman scored late in the first, the Bruins appeared to be energized. That was apparent when Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic crashed Jose Theodore, with Bergeron stuffing one past the Washington goalie for his 19th of the season.

The Bruins had taken command, carrying play throughout the period, even though the Capitals outshot the Bruins, 11-6, in the period.

Read More: Alex Ovechkin, Bruins, Captials, NHL

First period summary: Bruins vs. Captials

04.05.10 at 7:53 pm ET
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Considering the Bruins are facing the top-scoring team in the NHL on their home ice and without a top-four defenseman, being tied, 1-1, with Washington is not all bad. As a matter of fact, it’s downright remarkable.

And they were just mere millimeters away from a one-goal lead after a 20 minutes.

Niklas Backstrom’s shot trickled by Tuukka Rask at 7:36 of the first period. Dennis Wideman came to the rescue but just a half-second late as the puck was ruled to have cleared the goal line for a 1-0 Capitals lead. Alex Ovechkin fed Backstrom across the slot to set up the score.

Before that, the Bruins had managed to contain the high-powered Caps without defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who skated before the game but could not play after suffering a gash in his left wrist that required 15 stitches.

The scoring chances were again plentiful for the Bruins and it seemed for the first 19 minutes, 58.4 seconds of the opening period, they would be frustrated again.

But with 1.6 seconds left, it was Wideman of all people, who blasted a slap shot past Jose Theodore to tie the game.

Prior to that goal, the Bruins spent the final 60 seconds of the first period in the Washington zone, peppering Theodore.

And just after Backstrom’s goal, Michael Ryder had three great chances from close in but couldn’t finish.

The Bruins outshot the Caps, 12-7.

Read More: Bruins, Captials, Dennis Wideman, Jose Theodore

Bruins gain important two points in Toronto

04.03.10 at 9:50 pm ET
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Summary — The Bruins continue to look for ways to apply pressure in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, and they got a much-needed pair of points in Toronto on Saturday with a 2-1 overtime win against the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

Miroslav Satan scored the game-winner in overtime with 1:35 left when he deflected a Zdeno Chara blast from the point into the net to light the lamp and end the game. Tuukka Rask got the win for the Bruins with 27 saves out dueling Jonas Gustavsson’s 28 stops in the process.

Toronto took the early lead when Colton Orr found a Dion Phaneuf rebound in the slot in front of Rask at 5:10 in the first period. He put it in the back of the net while getting pushed to the ice to give the Leafs the early 1-0 lead.

Boston came back after getting outshot 14-5 in the first period to tie the game in the second. David Krejci took an outlet pass down the left wing, took the puck to the top of the circle and torqued a backhand shot on Gustavsson. The puck slipped through the crease to where Satan was waiting on the other side to bang home the rebound for his seventh of the year to even the game at 8:01.

Bruins’ defenseman Mark Stuart did not play and was sent back to Boston with cellulitis in his hand and Dennis Seidenberg left the game in the first with a cut on his arm and did not return.

Three Stars

Miroslav Satan — Got his seventh and eighth goals as a Bruin which tied the game then won it in overtime.

Tuukka Rask — The man behind the mask has been the Bruins best stalwart of late and stood tall against the Leafs to earn the vital two points.

Zdeno Chara — The Bruins captain was had to dig deep with the Bruins very shorthanded on defense after Dennis Seidenberg left the game with a cut to his arm and Mark Stuart was shipped back to Boston with cellulitis in his hand. Chara logged 32:53 of ice time and led the team in blocked shots to help keep the puck out of the net.

Turning Point — Phil Kessel had a self pass off the wall at center ice in the that created a 2-on-1 with Tomas Kaberle midway through overtime. Kessel had space and tried to center the puck, but it was broken up in front of Rask to end the threat. Less than a minute later, the Bruins came back to score the game winner of Chara’s shot and Satan’s deflection.

Key Play — Chara set up from the point and delivered one of his patented slap shots that deflected off of Satan’s stick with enough power to flash passed Gustavsson to earn the vital two points.

Read More: Colton Orr, David Krejci, Jonas Gustavsson, Miroslav Satan

Second period summary: Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

04.03.10 at 8:45 pm ET
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Giving David Krejci some new wingmen has paid off, for a period at least.

Boston got back into the game with its first goal in 88:01 of game play. Captain Zdeno Chara started a break out when he hit the open Krejci in the neutral zone going down the left wing. Krejci broke through the zone and got to the top of the face off circle before torquing his body and throwing a backhand wrist shot on Gustavsson that rebounded through the crease to Miroslav Satan perfectly positioned on the other side for the bang back score.

An opportunity came for Boston via the power play when Christian Hansen took an interference call at 10:45. The Bruins had good puck control on the man-advantage (which has not always been the case this season) though the Leafs penalty kill blocked a series of shots including two by Rickard Wallin on consecutive Chara shots from the point to kill off the penalty.

Dennis Seidenberg did not return after cutting his arm in the first period and are now quite shorthanded on defense combined with the loss of Mark Stuart to cellulitis. Regardless, Boston played much better in the second period and outshot the Leafs nine to eight and trail the game in the category 22 to 14.

Read More: David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg, Jonas Gustavsson, Miroslav Satan

First period summary: Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

04.03.10 at 7:51 pm ET
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If there was ever a must-win game, Saturday at Air Canada Centre in Toronto is that kind of game for the Bruins.

The results will be twofold. Foremost, the Bruins are only a point ahead of the Thrashers and tied with Flyers for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Secondly, if Boston wants to get a top two pick in the NHL Entry Draft this summer, they have to beat the team whose pick they own to keep them down in the standings.

So, you would think that the Bruins would be motivated and jump on the division rival Leafs early, right?

Not so much.

Toronto took the early lead at 5:10 into the game when Colton Orr, much more known for his bruising than goal scoring, pushed a rebound off a Dion Phaneuf shot pased Tuukka Rask to open the scoring.

Four minutes later the Leafs would have a big chance to make it a two-goal advantage when Michael Ryder went to the penalty box for hooking at 9:15. He was followed there 23-seconds later by Dennis Seidenberg who took a boarding call to set up 1:37 of two-man advantage ice time for Toronto.

The Bruins registered the kill and came back down the ice to put pressure on Leafs’ goaltender Jonas Gustavsson but a shot hit the cross bar and bounced back out of the crease to end the threat.

During Seidenberg’s penalty he had to leave the box with a cut on his forearm that needed medical attention. Defenseman Mark Stuart is not with the team after getting sent back to Boston with cellulitis, a skin infection, in his hand. Andrew Bodnarchuk has been recalled from Providence on an emergency basis.

Toronto has been the better team through the first 20 minutes and lead the Bruins in shots by nine, 14 to five.

Read More: Colton Orr, Dennis Seidenberg, Jonas Gustavsson, Mark Stuart

Ryder, Wheeler among prominent line changes

04.02.10 at 1:57 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — There was a little bit of a new look to the lines at Bruins practice at Ristuccia on Friday.

The normal line groupings by sweater color were blown up by coach Claude Julien. Instead of the normal David Krejci, Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder line wearing grey, Krejci was joined by Marco Sturm and Miroslav Satan in white sweaters to make the All-European line. Wheeler still skated in grey just this time with Vladimir Sobotka and Brad Marchand. Milan Lucic took Sturm’s spot on the line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.

That left the normal red, checking, line — Steve Begin, Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille and Trent Whitfield.

Oh yeah. And Ryder.

“Whoever plays together I think we can definitely play together and get shots on net,” Ryder said by the way of a non-committal response when asked if he saw the red sweater as a demotion.

Julien admitted that the shake up was definitely part of a wake up call that the coaching staff is giving to certain players, like Ryder, Wheeler, Sturm and Lucic, who have been pretty stale of late.

“You saw it today, making some changes, we have got to find some ways of making consistency here,” Julien said. “There is a lot of stuff being done to get those guys going but at the same time we have to make changes on the ice. We are struggling to score goals and, you know, you got certain guys who just aren’t going while and you hope that making changes will either spark them, wake them up or at least give some different lines some better opportunities.”

The situation is getting serious for Ryder. He has one goal since Feb. 13 and has been held without a shot in three of his last four games. For a guy who is supposed to be the sniper, that is not the way things are supposed to work. He admitted that it was in his mind that the demotion to the red sweater could further lead to a demotion where he has no sweater, red, grey or Black and Gold.

“Definitely, it could happen,” Ryder said. “When you are looked at to score goals and you’re not scoring it is definitely in mind but I just have to keep working hard right now and step it up even another notch.”

For Ryder, he would have to step up a first notch before “stepping it up even another,” which he said twice in his five-minute scrum with reporters. He also said that he has been focused on battling though shooting the puck has not been his top priority.

“It makes a difference when everybody on your line is shooting the puck, getting chances and getting more opportunities you have a better chance of scoring,” Ryder said. “I was not thinking about shooting a lot. Sometimes you just have to pound those areas and if you get out of position you don’t get that shot. Now it is just about battling hard and trying to get to those areas and get pucks on net.”

Wheeler was also held without a shot last night and is now on a line with two young players who have been on the fringe of the roster (or in Providence) for most of the year.

“Well, you know, it is sometimes good, almost refreshing to see new faces, play with new guys. Changes like that are always welcome,” Wheeler said. “Anytime you go the majority of two games and zeroes goals, one at the end  of the Devils game, change is probably a good thing.”

Wheeler had the Bruins best opportunity with a short-handed 2-on-1 break with Krejci as his trailer but let the opportunity fizzle out in front of him without putting the puck on net. He explained the play Friday morning.

“It is disappointing,” Wheeler said. “It was a play in the game that could have made it different and obviously you expect more out of yourself and I just didn’t make the play, that is all there is to it.”

After Recchi called out some of his teammates for not giving their best effort Thursday night and two games with only one goal, changes to the lines in some way or form were to be expected on Friday. In the dogfight that the Bruins find themselves, it will definitely take all 20 skaters to make sure their last five games are not their last of the season.

“In a way it is not that complicated, if guys work their butts off things will happen, no matter who they play with,” Julien said.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Claude Julien, Marco Sturm, Michael Ryder
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