In a relative offensive explosion, the Boston Bruins bested the Caps by a score of 4-3 to win game three and regain control of the series.
For the first time in this quarter finals matchup, the first period ended in a score other than 0-0. At 16:00 of the opening frame, Alexander Semin took advantage of a Zdeno Chara penalty, firing a snap shot through Tim Thomas’ gear to give the Caps a 1-0 lead. The power play strike was Semin’s first of the playoffs (assists: Brooks Laich, Alex Ovechkin). In what would prove to be one of the most evenly matched periods of the series thus far, Braden Holtby would stop all eight shots the Bruins sent his way.
It would not take Boston long to respond in the second period, just thirty-five seconds, in fact, as Rich Peverley scored (1, assists: Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference) in front of the net to tie the game at one. Alex Ovechkin, however, would have none of it. A mere thirteen seconds after Peverley’s tying goal, Ovechkin took a Hail Mary pass from Brooks Laich and blasted a shot by Thomas to give Washington back the lead. Still, Boston was not finished and Daniel Paille struck back to tie the game at 9:38 (1, assists: Greg Zannon, Gregory Campbell). The 2-2 tie at the end of the second period set the stage for a slugfest of a third in which a winner would finally be decided.
Once again, Boston would get the jump on the scoring early in the period. At 1:02, Brian Rolston’s wrist shot would beat Braden Holtby to give the Bruins their first lead of the game. The go ahead goal was Rolston’s first of the post season (assists: Chris Kelly, Zdeno Chara). After Rolston’s early goal, it was beginning to seem as if Boston’s defense was set to smother the Caps end ensure a 3-2 win when Brooks Laich put the team on his back. On another long pass, this time from Nick Backstrom, Laich sped into Boston’s zone on a partial breakaway, put a beautiful move on Tim Thomas, and scored to tie the game at three (1, assists: Nick Backstrom, Mike Green). While the Capitals are no stranger to late game heroics, the Bruins are the defending champs for a reason. With only a minute and fifty-three seconds remaining in regulation, Zdeno Chara took one of his trademark slap shots that deflected off of Roman Hamrlik’s stick and into the net, giving Boston the lead. Chara’s first goal of the series would be enough to give Boston the win and the 2-1 series lead.
Game four will take place in DC on Thursday and, if the Caps wish to make the playoff run that they now seem capable of, they would be well served in winning it.