- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BOSTON | Twice the top two teams in the Eastern Conference met at Verizon Center this season and produced tightly contested, well-played hockey games.

The scene shifted to TD Bank north Garden on Tuesday night, and Round 3 proved to be even better.

In this edition, the host Bruins prevailed against the Washington Capitals for the first time this season after David Krejci’s overtime tally in front of a sellout crowd gave Boston a 3-2 victory.

“It was a pretty good game with two good teams - all three times we’ve battled them,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. “When they’ve got one of the best power plays in the league and they get two minutes for a four-on-three, it is tough to stop.”

Boston had a four-on-three power play in the extra session because of a wild sequence that included a highlight-reel save by Bruins goalie Tim Thomas on a rebound attempt from Nicklas Backstrom. The Bruins went the other way, and the end-to-end dash resulted in Backstrom hooking hulking 6-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara, who was crashing the net.

Caps goalie Jose Theodore, who along with Thomas was solid and even spectacular when needed, made one big save during the four-on-three, but eventually Krejci’s cross-crease pass attempt hit Shaone Morrisonn’s leg - as the Washington defenseman knelt to prevent such a play - and into the net at 1:55.

“I feel bad for Jose. He made that great save [on Shane Hnidy] right before, and then it goes off a [leg] and in the net,” Caps defenseman Mike Green said. “I feel bad for him, but that happens.”

By collecting the extra point, the Bruins now possess an 11-point lead over the Caps for the top spot in the East. Theodore made 25 saves, but Thomas - who was the winning goaltender in the All-Star Game for the second straight year about 48 hours before - turned aside 34 of 36 Washington shots.

“Timmy made some good saves and kept them in it,” Green said. “That save at the end in OT there [against Backstrom], that’s usually a goal, but he stood on his head tonight.”

The Caps were afforded an early break when Savard was sent to the penalty box for high-sticking seven seconds in. One second after Savard left the box, Green ripped a shot from the top of the offensive zone through a screen at 2:08.

Boston answered midway through the opening period thanks to a turnover by Alex Ovechkin. Shawn Thornton intercepted Ovechkin’s pass near the blue line and backhanded a shot into the top right corner past Theodore at 9:26.

Michael Nylander put the Caps in front with a sweeping goal just before the first intermission.

Savard knotted the score at 2-2 with the only goal of the middle period. With the Bruins on the power play thanks to the Caps’ third offensive zone penalty of the night, Alexander Semin tried to skate the puck out of the zone, but Patrice Bergeron dived and knocked it off his stick.

Bergeron’s hustle left Theodore facing a two-on-one from close range, and Savard maneuvered around a sliding Karl Alzner before snapping a shot past the goalie to the short side.

“Those are frustrating - you shouldn’t have to get penalties in the offensive zone,” Boudreau said. “Right now, we’re fragile killing penalties. The guys are trying so hard, but things aren’t working - pucks are bouncing off skates. It seems like that happens once a game.”

The Caps had a scare in the second period when Ovechkin was hooked by Chara and crashed headfirst into the boards with 5:35 left. Ovechkin stayed down for about 90 seconds before heading to the dressing room for the rest of the period.

After rotating his right shoulder a few times while on the bench, Ovechkin slammed his gloves and his helmet to the ground as he walked down the tunnel to the locker room. He returned with his teammates after the second intermission.

A team official said after the game Ovechkin had a neck injury known as a “stinger,” and it went away after about 15 minutes.

“No,” Ovechkin said when asked whether it was a scary moment. “It was just hockey moment - it is OK.”

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