BOSTON – Tim Thomas faced shot after Washington shot—25 already in the third period alone—when Alex Ovechkin came in on the Boston goalie and tried to sweep a backhand through his legs.
Thomas stopped the two-time NHL MVP at point-blank range with 11 seconds left, preserving the Bruins’ 3-2 victory over the Capitals on Saturday night.
“(The attack) was consistent, consistent, consistent. I didn’t have time to think right until Ovechkin’s pad shot,” Thomas said. “Maybe that was good.”
Andrew Ference scored his first goal in 100 games as the Bruins jumped to a 3-0, first-period lead and then held on to send the Capitals to their eighth straight loss. Washington outshot Boston 26-2 in the third period, but Thomas made 39 saves in all to help the Bruins snap a three-game losing streak.
“It certainly saved us. There’s no doubt about that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It’s unfortunate. … We were watching more than we were reacting.”
Patrice Bergeron and Blake Wheeler scored for Boston, and they also assisted on each others’ goals. But the Capitals cut the deficit to one goal and then peppered Thomas with shots in the final period and nearly tied it on Ovechkin’s shot in the final minute with Washington goalie Michal Neuvirth off for an extra skater.
“You outshoot a team 26-2 in the third period and you hopefully come through with more than a loss,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I really believed we were going to tie it tonight. You could feel it. Thomas has beat an awful lot of teams with great stuff, and he did it to us.”
Matt Bradley and Karl Alzner scored for Washington, which has scored just 11 goals in eight games (0-6-2) since Dec. 1. Neuvirth made 18 saves, but Boudreau was forced to use his timeout in the first period after Washington fell behind 2-0 less than nine minutes in.
“It was embarrassing for us,” Alzner said. “We came in after the first period and said, ‘We can’t keep playing like that.’ The first period killed us.”
The Bruins had lost three in a row—all one-goal games—for their longest losing streak of the season. But they scored before Washington got its first shot off, taking a 1-0 lead 3:27 into the game when Wheeler went toward the net and took the defenders with him, then spun backward and dished it back to Bergeron.
Ference made it 2-0 with 11:47 left in the first with a slapshot from the left point that was partially screened. It was his first goal since Feb. 22, 2009, and Boudreau decided his team needed a break before the game got out of reach.
But Boston made it 3-0 when Bergeron backhanded the puck to Wheeler in the circle for a goal that made it 3-0 with 2:57 left in the first.
The Capitals managed five shots in the period, then peppered Thomas with 10 in the second. But they erupted in the third, outshooting the Bruins 19-1 by the time Alzner’s shot went through traffic and past Thomas to cut the deficit to one goal with 5:28 to play.
NOTES: Neuvirth went to the ice and couldn’t get up, apparently in pain, with just under two minutes left in the second period. Play was stopped and a trainer came out to him, but after a minute or so he was back in the crease. … Bruins C Brad Marchand left the game in the second period and didn’t return. There was no further information about his injury. … Two fans went over the glass and onto the ice in the third period. They were apprehended by the linesmen. … It was Boston’s first win in a Saturday night home game. … It is Washington’s first losing streak of at least four games under Boudreau. … Ovechkin has just one goal in seven games and two in 16.