Although the Bruins finally got two goals from forwards who do not skate on their third line, it was a shot from their defense that was the difference tonight.
Zdeno Chara capped a three-point night with a 4-on-4 goal from the right point off Roman Hamrlik’s stick that was the game-winner with 1:53 left in regulation in a 4-3 win against Washington in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
The Bruins twice trailed by one goal in the game and also squandered a one-goal lead in the third period.
Chara also recorded two assists, on goals by Rich Peverley (first of the series) and Brian Rolston. Daniel Paille scored the Bruins’ fourth goal.
Boston now leads the series 2-1 with Game 4 scheduled for Thursday also in Washington.
▪Chara produced three points, but defense partner Dennis Seidenberg, who finished the night with just one assist, was even better than the captain. Seidenberg kept the puck alive down low and the helped screen Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby on Chara’s goal. Seidenberg also drew a penalty, threw four hits and blocked four shots. He also kept the puck in along the wall before Rolston’s score.
The only negative against the Chara-Seidenberg pair was Brooks Laich’s game-tying goal in the third period. Somehow Laich made it to the Boston blue line unscathed without the puck and then took a Nicklas Backstrom pass in for a goal. Boston’s top pair made than made up for that gaffe over the course of the rest of the night.
▪With Rolston’s goal that’s three goals in three games for Boston’s newly-named “Bennie & The Vets” line. Rolston scored on the rebound of a Chris Kelly shot. Kelly scored in Game 1, Benoit Pouliot in Game 2.
▪Head coach Claude Julien tried to wake up his offense – to mixed results – by switching Patrice Bergeron to a line between Milan Lucic and Peverley, and David Krejci between Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. Peverley scored his goal 4-on-4.
▪Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton were back in fine form and it finally paid off with a Paille goal on a rebound of a Greg Zanon shot. Campbell made the pass out to Zanon, and the Bruins got position because of Thornton’s hard work on the forecheck against Jeff Schultz.
▪ Marchand didn’t record a shot on net, but drew two penalties.
▪Backstrom was handed a match penalty at 20:00 of the third period for taking a post-horn run at Peverley. It will be interesting to see if there’s any additional discipline coming for the Caps center.
▪Lucic got his feet moving better as the game went on. But he lost his temper again and was punished with a double-minor during a late-game power play. He engaged with Matt Hendricks and then went nuts on Karl Alzner after the Caps defenseman grabbed Lucic from behind. Can’t blame Lucic for going after Alzner, but he could’ve backed away from Hendricks considering it was a power play.
▪Tim Thomas finished with 29 saves on 32 shots, none bigger than a point-blank save on Jay Beagle. The Bruins also blocked 21 shots to Washington’s 15.