for this game

Johnson, Capitals cool off Bruins

Dec 11, 2008 - 4:43 AM
By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Brent Johnson made 33 saves and Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom each recorded a goal and an assist to lead the Washington Capitals to a 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.

Alexandre Giroux also tallied and Alexander Semin set up a goal in his return to the lineup for Washington, which improved to an Eastern Conference-best 11-1-1 at home this season.

The loss snapped the Bruins' five-game winning streak. Boston, which was 14-1-1 in its previous 16 games, has lost just twice in regulation since October 30.

Johnson was the difference in the game, stopping 14 shots in the first period, nine in the second and 10 in the third.

"He was pretty outstanding, and you need that type of goaltending to win," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "When we needed him, he was there."

Backstrom got the Capitals on the board early, redirecting Ovechkin's one-timer from the point past goaltender Manny Fernandez for a power-play goal just 3:53 into the game. Viktor Kozlov registered one of his two assists on the play, which ended Fernandez's shutout streak dating to November 29 at 87 minutes, 28 seconds.

Johnson kept Washington in front with two flashy saves midway through the first period. He stopped Patrice Bergeron's shot with his left leg and slid over in time to get a glove on Chuck Kobasew's rebound attempt.

"The story of the game if you're Washington, you're going to talk about the unbelievable saves that their goaltender made, and we're going to call it missed opportunities," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We had some real quality opportunities to score and thought we could have made a different game of it, but I thought that was the difference right there."

Giroux's first goal of the season at 4:52 of the second period gave Washington a 2-0 advantage. Kozlov took a shot from the right side of the net that rebounded off the pads of Fernandez, and Giroux was there to stuff in the rebound.

"He should be happy about it," Boudreau said of Giroux's game-winning goal. "Once he got that goal, he settled down. I was a little nervous about his defensive work before that, but once he scored that goal, he had the breakaway. You can see why he's leading the (American Hockey) League. He finds those holes."

Johnson, who has won three consecutive games, made a superb stick save on Blake Wheeler's breakaway chance around the 14-minute mark of the second period to momentarily keep the Capitals ahead by two goals.

"I pulled (the puck) around him," Wheeler said. "I saw him trying to poke-check, and once I got it around him, I figured I had the empty net. He just swung his stick back around and made an extraordinary save, so what can you do?

"When you have great chances like that and he's pulling some saves out of thin air, you've just got to tip your cap to him. He made some great saves. He kept them in the game. What can you say? Sometimes goaltenders do that."

During his winning streak, Johnson has stopped 79 of 83 shots.

But Boston halved the deficit late in the middle session, as Milan Lucic converted a crossing pass from Phil Kessel with 35 seconds remaining for his eighth goal.

The Capitals had a chance to regain their two-goal advantage early in the third, but Giroux missed a penalty-shot attempt wide left just 72 seconds into the session.

Semin, who had missed 12 games with an upper torso strain, assisted on Ovechkin's empty-net tally with 52 seconds remaining, sealing the victory. The goal was Ovechkin's 15th of the season.

"In the third period when they pulled the goalie and we really needed someone to battle along the walls, Semin was there," Boudreau said. "And he was committed to getting the puck out. He was committed to playing defense, and that's what we needed."

The loss snapped a personal seven-game winning streak for Fernandez, who stopped 23 shots.

"I think all of us missed a little bit of focus, and that might have just been it," Fernandez said. "We had a lot of chances. We played well defensively - enough to win at both ends. We came up short a little bit.

"I give credit to Johnson - he played terrific tonight. We'll face other teams that are on a roll, especially them at home. I think we were just missing that extra push."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 1 0 1
    WASHINGTON 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) NICKLAS BACKSTROM 9 (ALEX OVECHKIN, VIKTOR
    KOZLOV) 3:53
    2ND PRD: WAS - ALEXANDRE GIROUX 1 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, TOM POTI) 4:52
    BOS - MILAN LUCIC 8 (PHIL KESSEL, ZDENO CHARA) 19:25
    3RD PRD: WAS - (EN) ALEX OVECHK

    Dec 10 9:38 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 1
    WASHINGTON 3
    3RD PRD: WAS - (EN) ALEX OVECHKIN 15 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, NICKLAS
    BACKSTROM) 19:08

    Bruins 1, Capitals 3  3rd - 0:52Dec 10 9:32 PM
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    Bruins 1, Capitals 3  3rd - 0:52Dec 10 9:32 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 17 roots (Close Finish)

    Bruins 1, Capitals 2  3rd - 1:34Dec 10 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 1 1
    WASHINGTON 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) NICKLAS BACKSTROM 9 (ALEX OVECHKIN, VIKTOR
    KOZLOV) 3:53
    2ND PRD: WAS - ALEXANDRE GIROUX 1 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, TOM POTI) 4:52
    BOS - MILAN LUCIC 8 (PHIL KESSEL, ZDENO CHARA) 19:25
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Dec 10 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: BOS - MILAN LUCIC 8 (PHIL KESSEL, ZDENO CHARA) 19:25

    Bruins 1, Capitals 2  2nd - 0:35Dec 10 8:38 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 0
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: WAS - ALEXANDRE GIROUX 1 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, TOM POTI) 4:52

    Bruins 0, Capitals 2  2nd - 15:08Dec 10 8:13 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 0
    WASHINGTON 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) NICKLAS BACKSTROM 9 (ALEX OVECHKIN, VIKTOR
    KOZLOV) 3:53
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOS 14 14
    WAS 6 6
    GOALIES: BOS - MANNY

    Dec 10 7:45 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) NICKLAS BACKSTROM 9 (ALEX OVECHKIN, VIKTOR KOZLOV)
    3:53

    Bruins 0, Capitals 1  1st - 16:07Dec 10 7:18 PM
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    Bruins vs. CapitalsDec 10 3:38 PM
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    Bruins vs. CapitalsNov 18 4:41 PM