WASHINGTON DC – The Bruins are probably hoping they don’t have to play in the Caps’ home building for a while.
After memorably blowing a three-goal lead at the Verizon Center in the first week of March, the Bruins frittered away a two-goal lead in the third period and fell to the Capitals by a 3-2 score in overtime. A pair of Mike Green power play goals in the third period tied things up for Washington, and Eric Fehr smoked a Green rebound in overtime to send Washington home victorious.
It was the eighth time this season that the Bruins have blown a third period lead after not doing it once all of last season.
Unfortunately, the Montreal Canadiens also won their game. That means the Bruins will need two points against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night to wrap up the Northeast Division championship and No. 2 seed.
The Bruins weathered an early storm from the Capitals in the first 10 minutes of the first period, and then struck back with an impressive response. The Bruins took control of the game midway through the first period when David Krejci and Milan Lucic teamed up on a face-off play in the offensive zone, and Lucic fired a puck off Karl Alzner’s stick that deflected past Braden Holtby for his seventh score of the season.
The Bruins doubled their advantage in the second period when Rich Peverley spotted a trailing Andrew Ference, and the Bruins veteran defensemen hammered a puck from the top of the right circle that beat Holtby glove-side.
Rask hadn’t allowed a goal in a game that he started in an entire week going into the final 20 minutes, but that came to a crashing halt. The Capitals started earning power plays in the final few minutes, and the rest was history for Boston.
GOLD STAR: Milan Lucic had his fourth multi-point game of the season and finished with four shots on net and two registered hits in 16:28 of ice time for the Bruins. It was a nifty little face-off play that netted the power forward his seventh goal of the season, and served notice that No. 17 is starting to once again feel fully confidence about his game headed into the Stanley Cup playoffs. Lucic appears poised to really hit a good stretch going into the postseason, and put a lackluster regular season way into the rear view mirror. Lucic’s performance was one of the real positives on another night when they blew a third period lead.
BLACK EYE: Rich Peverley snapped a seven game scoring drought with an assist on Andrew Ference’s second period goal, but then went right back into the dog house with a very ill-timed tripping penalty in the third period. It came on the heels of Washington’s first power play goal, and, of course, Mike Green scored his second PP goal of the game with No. 49 sitting in the penalty box. He finished a plus-2 with an assist in 15:55 of ice time, but was dropped down to the third line after taking the fateful penalty in the third period.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins had themselves a 2-0 lead and had played one of their best periods in a long, long time in the middle 20 minutes, but they simply couldn’t sustain it in the third period. Once the Bruins took one Adam McQuaid tripping penalty in the third period that led to one Washington power play goal, it became an avalanche of penalties, power plays and eventually an overtime loss for a Bruins team still searching for momentum. The Bruins did a lot of things well on Saturday night, but it’s still difficult to feel good about blowing third period leads.
HONORABLE MENTION: Mike Green took over the game in the third period, scoring on a pair of power play bombs and then setting up the overtime game-winner with another shot that Tuukka Rask couldn’t handle. Green finished with nine shots on net, 14 total shots attempted, four blocked shots and three points in 25:59 of ice time in a masterful performance. Green logged an amazing 6:46 of power play time for the Capitals tonight out of their 6:52 total time on the man advantage. He was a dominant force for them.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of overtime game-winning goals for grinding forward Eric Fehr vs. the Bruins this season as he scored in OT on Saturday night and had the game-winner during Boston’s three-goal collapse back in early March.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Hopefully this is the last time we have to learn this lesson about going into the third period with a lead. There is a lot to look forward to tomorrow. We’re in control of our destiny and playing for first in the division.” –Milan Lucic, following Saturday’s loss in Washington.