for this game

Chara's late goal gives Bruins a 2-1 series lead

Apr 17, 2012 - 3:42 AM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Zdeno Chara made sure overtime wasn't needed to determine a victor.

The bruising Boston defenseman scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:53 remaining in the third period and the Bruins earned a 4-3 win at Verizon Center for a 2-1 lead in their first-round series with the Washington Capitals.

Chara assisted on two other goals for second-seeded Boston, which got 29 saves from Tim Thomas.

The Bruins traveled to the nation's capital after splitting a pair of low- scoring duels at home. Boston and Washington combined for just four goals in the first two games, with the defending Stanley Cup champions winning the opener, 1-0, in overtime and the Capitals prevailing, 2-1, in double-overtime.

"It was big for us to start scoring," Thomas said. "Unfortunately they started scoring a little bit more, too. But at the end of the game we had one more than they did."

Game 4 will be on Thursday in Washington.

Down 3-2, Brooks Laich took a stretch pass from Nicklas Backstrom and scored on a breakaway, putting the puck off the near post and over a prone Thomas, tying the game with six minutes left in the third.

Fans held up photos of President Barack Obama, reminding Thomas that he turned down a trip to the White House with his teammates.

Boston forward Brad Marchand drew a pair of penalties in the third, including a cross-check by Backstrom with 3:14 remaining.

The Bruins weren't on the power play for long as Milan Lucic got into a scrum with Matt Hendricks and picked up an additional minor penalty.

Chara then scored during 4-on-4 play, one-timing a feed from Patrice Bergeron. The shot from the right point deflected off the stick of Washington defenseman Roman Hamrlik and past Braden Holtby, who finished with 25 saves.

Washington opened the scoring with the series' first power-play goal.

Chara went to the box for roughing and Alexander Semin cashed in on the man-advantage, beating a screened Thomas between the legs from the high slot with four minutes remaining in the first period.

The Bruins and Capitals traded goals 13 seconds apart in the second period's opening minute.

Holtby got his glove on Rich Peverley's shot, but it still fluttered into the net at the 35-second mark.

Alex Ovechkin quickly put Washington back on top, winning a race to a puck that had been lobbed by Laich from his own zone and firing it past Thomas.

The teams were skating 4-on-4 to open the second period after coincidental minor penalties were assessed to Backstrom and Lucic for their roles in a dustup at the end of the first.

Daniel Paille tied it at 9:38 of the middle stanza, and Brian Rolston put the Bruins up 3-2 at 1:02 of the third, converting a rebound of a shot that he deflected.

"The second and third goals were the direct result of them working harder in front," Holtby said.

Game Notes

Backstrom was assessed a match penalty for cross-checking Peverley at the end of the game...Ovechkin scored his 26th career playoff goal to move into sole possession of second place on the Capitals' all-time list. He passed Dale Hunter, Washington's current head coach, and trails only Peter Bondra (30)...Laich also had two assists...Hamrlik played in his 100th career playoff game...There were no first-period goals in the first two games of this series...The Bruins were 0-for-5 on the power play.