Coming out of the All-Star break, the Boston Bruins had a rugged stretch of games against the mettle of the Eastern Conference on their docket. To start that stretch with a loss to Washington Jan. 27 could’ve started a snow ball of negativity rolling down a hill.
But a death-defying play by center Patrice Bergeron during a second-period power play and a fortuitous bounce of a pass by David Krejci in overtime made sure the Bruins started the second half on the right note with a win that ranks at No. 4 on my list of the best Bruins wins of the 2008-09 regular season.
The first period featured the Capitals outscoring the Bruins, 2-1, but the home team grabbing the momentum and electrifying the TD Banknorth Garden crowd with a courageous fight between rookie forward Byron Bitz and Caps veteran pugilist Donald Brashear. Bitz landed some early blows before he tired and Brashear might’ve won out on points. However, the message was sent by the first-year NHLer.
Shawn Thornton answered Mike Green’s goal with an unassisted tally at 9:26 of the opening stanza to even the score before Michael Nylander sent the Caps to the locker room with the lead.
Then late in the second period, Bergeron took a gamble that paid off. His diving play toward the left corner not only kept the puck alive but set up Marc Savard’s goal on a shot fired from the right circle. Had Bergeron not made the play, the Caps would’ve had an odd-man rush other way. A revitalized Bergeron had proven he was rounding back into form and the Bruins had pushed the Caps to overtime.
In the extra session, both teams fired two shots on net. Krejci’s shot, however, was more of a pass to the front of the goal that deflected off defenseman Shaone Morrisonn and past goaltender Jose Theodore. The second-half-starting heavyweight battle between the Bruins and Caps went the way of the Black and Gold, and that snowball was delayed in starting its roll.