for this game

Thomas solid as Bruins down slumping Caps

Dec 19, 2010 - 6:52 AM
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Tim Thomas made 25 of his 39 saves in the third period to help the Boston Bruins hold on for a 3-2 victory over the sliding Washington Capitals.

Patrice Bergeron and Blake Wheeler each finished with a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Karl Alzner scored late in the third period to get the Capitals within one, but Thomas and the Bruins held on to send Washington to its eighth consecutive loss (0-6-2).

Michal Neuvirth stopped 18-of-21 shots in the Capitals' latest setback.

Washington's third-period pressure paid off with 5:28 remaining, when Alzner scored. John Carlson sent a pass from the right corner to the slot, and Alzner's slapshot was deflected before getting by Thomas, who was screened.

The Capitals appeared to gain some energy from the goal and their pressure intensified over the last few minutes; however, Boston's defense prevented Washington from getting many quality looks at the net.

Neuvirth skated off with about 45 seconds to play, and Washington's best chance came just after a faceoff with about 14 ticks on the clock. Alex Ovechkin was left free just to the left of the slot and got the puck with a clear path to the goal. However, Thomas stuffed Ovechkin's backhand try, and the Bruins needed to make one final clear before the clock ran out.

Despite having to make so many saves in the third period, Thomas said the consistent pressure might have actually helped.

"I didn't really have time to think too much about it, or at least I didn't over-think it, which is a good thing," Thomas said.

Boston built a 3-0 lead in the first period. Bergeron lit the lamp at the 3:27 mark, and about five minutes later Andrew Ference scored his first of the season. Wheeler gave the Bruins the three-goal edge on a snap shot with 2:57 to play.

Matt Bradley got the Capitals on the board 2:18 into the second period, but by that point they were already facing an enormous challenge.

"The first point [head coach Bruce Boudreau] talked about today before the game was being ready, they're going to come out hard. Then we go out and do that in the first period," Bradley said. "They're too good of a team to give them a 3-0 lead."

Game Notes

Boston won the season series, 3-1-0. It is the first time the Bruins have won a season series against the Capitals since 2006-07, when they swept the four games...Washington has scored 11 goals during its eight-game slide.