The Boston Bruins are 24-0 this season when they gain a two-goal advantage. They entered the third period at Verizon Center against the Washington Capitals with a 2-0 lead, as the All-Star Tim Thomas kept the Caps off the board through the first forty minutes. The Capitals outshot the Bruins 36-30 but were unable to crack Thomas to get back in it. Matthieu Perreault just missed a goal early in the third, as he rifled a slap shot past Thomas that deflected off the post. Boston would extend their lead, and then add a late empty-netter to hold on a 4-1 win.
Boston made it 3-0 on Tyler Seguin's 20th goal of the season. Brad Marchand set up the play, controlling the puck in the center of the ice and firing a pass at the stick of Seguin. The young star simply put his stick out and the puck deflected past Tomas Vokoun and into the back of the net.
The Caps cut it to 3-1 on a great rush, started by a nice play by Vokoun. In traffic, the Caps netminder passed it to Joel Ward, as the Bruins skated past. Ward started the breakaway, getting it to Perreault in the center of the ice. Perreault dropped it off for Marcus Johansson who made a last second center attempt from a bad angle on the left. The pass intended for Ward went off the skate of a recovering Dennis Seidenberg and into the back of the net. Ward went hard to the net, forcing Seidenberg to get in position and try to break up the cross. Johansson was credited with his 11th goal of the season.
Rich Peverley added a late empty-net goal for Boston to make it 4-1. The Capitals now host the Florida Panthers, who lead the Caps by one point and are the only Southeast Division team currently slotted for the playoffs.
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With about eight minutes remaining in the second period, Dennis Seidenberg checked Laich into the end boards behind Boston's net. Replays showed Laich's left knee taking the brunt of the impact. As play was stopped, Laich was crawling on the ice and could not leave under his own power. Teammates escorted him to the bench and the training staff helped him to the locker room.
During the next commercial break, Laich returned to the ice to test out his knee, but he ultimately retreated to the locker room under his own power, although he was noticeably limping.
The Caps, already shorthanded at the center position with Nicklas Backstrom out with a head injury, cannot afford for Laich to miss any significant time.
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Lucic's 19th goal of the season gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead midway through the period. Rich Peverly drove down the right boards as Lucic cut down the middle. Jeff Schultz committed to Peverly, but the latter weaved through traffic and sent a backhanded pass to Lucic, who had Dennis Wideman beat. Lucic then had enough time and space to catch Tomas Vokoun out of position for the wrist shot goal at 10:45.
Not to be outdone, Marchand scored his 19th goal of the season at 18:38 with a backhand shot. Patrice Bergeron beat out three different Caps behind the net and sent the puck to Marchand, who then beat Vokoun.
The Caps did not get their first shot on goal until around the midway point of the period, but finished with 10 as they attempted to fight back. Alexander Semin had the best chance on a breakaway, but Tim Thomas made the kick save. Thomas finished the period with 11 saves.