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Zdeno Chara give Bruins Game 3 winner 04.16.12 at 10:23 pm ET
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WASHINGTON — In a higher-scoring and more emotional game than the Bruins and Capitals have been used to this series, Zdeno Chara was the hero Monday night as the B’s took Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals with a 4-3 victory. The Bruins now hold a 2-1 series lead.

With the game knotted at three, Chara fired a shot from the point that went off of Washington defenseman Roman Hamrlik’s stick and past Braden Holtby with 1:53 remaining. It was Chara’s first goal of the playoffs. The Bruins’ four goals on Monday doubled their total from the series’ first two games.

The Capitals took a 1-0 lead when Alexander Semin scored with Chara in the box. The penalty, a roughing call on the captain, was Chara’s third minor penalty in three games this series.

Rich Peverley tied it early in the second period when he beat Holtby from the left circle, but Alexander Ovechkin made it 2-1 just 13 seconds later. Daniel Paille tied it 9:38 into the second, and the B’s took their first lead of the series when Brian Rolston scored 1:02 into the third. A Brooks Laich breakaway goal pulled the Capitals even with six minutes remaining in regulation, sending the Verizon Center crowd into a frenzy.

The series will resume Thursday at Verizon Center.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Holtby showed that he’ll allow the goals if you can get the opportunities. Paille’s goal came because he was he was parked out in front of the net and willing to puck up a rebound, while Rolston’s goal came when the third-liner picked up a loose puck in front. Peverley’s goal was probably the softest of the three that Holtby allowed, and Bruins players began shooting at Holtby’s glove side more following the tally.

One thing to watch: Four of the Bruins’ six goals this series have come from their bottom-six forwards. That’s good production for the third and fourth lines, but a bad sign for the offense as a whole.

- The Bruins got their first lead of the series on Rolston’s goal.

- This series might be getting some teeth to it after all. Milan Lucic and Laich were tangled up prior to a second-period face-off, and Lucic eventually threw Laich down before the puck could be dropped. There were was also some rough stuff at the end of the first period and early in the third, and things got out of hand with 2:26 left in the third. Lucic took a cross-check from Dennis Wideman after a Holtby save, and after Lucic got tangled up with Matt Hendricks, Karl Alzner jumped in.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- The Chara-Seidenberg pairing got caught napping on the Capitals’ third goal. Laich took a long pass from Nicklas Backstrom to give the winger a breakaway and tie the game.

- Johnny Boychuk was on the ice for the first four goals against this series. He was in no-man’s land on Semin’s goal, the third of four goals against he’s been on the ice for. He almost allowed a fifth goal when he lost his man in front late in the second period. Jay Beagle took a feed from behind the net with just over 2:20 remaining in the period, but Thomas stopped him on what was probably No. 30′s biggest save of the night.

In order for the Bruins to go with the Chara-Seidenberg pairing in the playoffs, they need a strong second pairing in Boychuk and Andrew Ference. Boychuk made up for his iffy play late, as he blocked a Mike Green shot with the Capitals on the power play with under nine minutes to play. The play saved what would have been an easy game-tying goal.

- Claude Julien mixed the lines up a bit by switching Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. That meant that Bergeron centered Lucic and Peverley, while Krejci centered Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand. The move didn’t look like it necessarily paid off and it’s tough to make sense of it. Bergeron and Lucic haven’t had chemistry when they’ve played together in the past, while Bergeron’s defense has often made up for what Seguin lacks in his own zone.

The Bruins’ top two lines still have yet to score a goal this series. Peverley’s goal came during 4-on-4 play while he was out with Chris Kelly.

- Marchand got hit where it hurt (literally) when Jason Chimera speared him in the crotch during a scrum early in the third period. Chimera was given a hooking minor, while Marchand stayed in the game.

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Bruins-Capitals Game 3 live blog: Tied in the third at 7:11 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask doesn’t swear, but he explains why the Tim Thomas White House snub won’t be an issue at 2:16 pm ET
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WASHINGTON — Everyone in the world wants to forget about the Tim Thomas/White House fiasco, and maybe they finally can after Monday night.

Game 3 will be Thomas’ second game at Verizon Center since the reigning Conn Smythe winner skipped the team’s White House visit in January. Fans in D.C. are being encouraged to wear Barack Obama masks as a way of taunting Thomas.

The Bruins are sick of answering questions about Thomas and the White House. Thomas has promised the media that he will end his sessions with reporters if the White House or his politics are mentioned. Both times it has happened since, Thomas has made good on his word and walked out.

Yet Tuukka Rask was happy to explain why he doesn’t think Thomas will be impacted by a Verizon Center full of fans who are angry with the two-time Vezina winner.

“I think everybody’s angry at him because he’s so good,” Rask said. “You guys know him almost as well as I do. He doesn’t give a… shoot about that stuff. It doesn’t bother him at all.”

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Bruins know they’ve made Braden Holtby’s job easy at 1:13 pm ET
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Braden Holtby has 73 saves through two games. (AP)

WASHINGTON — The Bruins have turned Braden Holtby from an AHL goaltender in over his head to the next big thing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That’s their fault. Through two games, Holtby has made 73 saves, allowed two goals in over seven periods’ worth of hockey, and created some buzz around the hockey world. All of this without really being tested.

“I think we could do a better job,” Zdeno Chara said matter-of-factly Monday morning.

The Bruins’ top two lines haven’t produced a point through two games, and the Capitals’ stingy play in the neutral zone has made it tough for Boston to get quality chances against the 22-year-old goaltender. The Capitals have blocked 48 shots, forcing the B’s to throw the puck on net any way they can, regardless of whether it’s a quality scoring opportunity.

“They block lots of shots,” said David Krejci, who led last postseason in scoring. “We’ve just got to find a way to get it through, and as forwards, we’ve got to make sure that we’re in front of the goalie. If he doesn’t see it, he can’t stop it.”

Added Chara: “I think one thing is to put shots on the net, but the other thing is to have quality shots, and shots with traffic and [make it] harder for him to maybe see them. It’s one of those things we need to be better at.”

If someone had told you six months ago that the Bruins would be facing this issue against the Capitals in the playoffs, you’d have thought they were crazy. The offensively-loaded Capitals have long relied on high-scoring games to pick up victories, but they’ve changed since Dale Hunter took over as head coach in November.

Now, the Capitals play a similar neutral-zone trap to that of the Bruins. With one forechecker and four men at the blue line, it’s tougher for the B’s to get through the neutral zone with an odd-man rush.

“They’ve definitely surprised us a little bit,” Krejci said. “We all know that they’re a great team offensively, but they’ve shown us in the last two games that they can play good defensively. We were looking at the the last two games and trying to work on some things. Hopefully it’s going to work tonight.”

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Morning skate notes: Same lineup, Tuukka Rask still out at 12:38 pm ET
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WASHINGTON — The Bruins used the same lines Monday morning at their morning skate Verizon Center, meaning it looks like there will be no changes to the lineup.

Jordan Caron, Tuukka Rask and Mike Mottau all stayed out for extra work after their teammates left the ice. Rask had a much heavier workload than in skates past, and while he said he will be ready to return at some point during this series, coach Claude Julien ruled Rask out for Game 3.

Here is the lineup:

Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot – Chris Kelly – Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille/Jordan Caron – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference – Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon – Joe Corvo

Tim Thomas
Anton Khudobin

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Tuukka Rask will make the trip to Washington, but Adam McQuaid won’t 04.15.12 at 6:59 pm ET
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The Bruins’ regulars stayed off the ice Sunday, as the team elected to rest up after playing overtime games Thursday and Saturday before Monday’s Game 3 against the Capitals.

At Sunday’s media availability, coach Claude Julien said that Tuukka Rask, who has missed the first two games of the series with an abdomen/groin injury, will make the trip to the nation’s capital. Adam McQuaid (upper-body) will not.

“He’s not going to make the trip,” Julien said. “He’s going to stay here and continue to get treatment because ight now he’s not ready to go on the ice, so he’s going to continue treatment. When he’s ready to start working out with the team then we’ll bring him with us.”

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Claude Julien has a message for his team: Stop being ‘cute’ with the puck at 9:04 am ET
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There’s a four-letter word in hockey – especially during the playoffs.

C-U-T-E

It’s what players hate to be called and it’s what coaches hate to see from their players.

Saturday, Claude Julien saw a bit too much of it from his Bruins in a 2-1 double-overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 2 of their Eastern quarterfinal series.

“They play a patient game,” Julien said. “They sit back, and they get into their 1-4, and if you want to get cute in the neutral zone, then you’re not getting pucks in, but it took us two periods to get ourselves going and get some more opportunities, and instead of using our outside speed and everything else, we just kind of made it easy on them. And, you know, at this stage of the year, you would like to see more net-front traffic, and you would like to see that puck going to the net a little bit more with guys heading in that direction, and we don’t have a good enough commitment in that area right now to win hockey games.”

Julien has seen the commitment from the Chris Kelly line, with Benoit Pouliot and Brian Rolston again combining for the only Bruins goal – as was the case in Thursday’s 1-0 OT win. Now, Julien wants to see Patrice Bergeron‘s line of Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin do the same. Same goes for David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley. Read the rest of this entry »

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