Bruins-Capitals Live: B’s First Line Steps Up, Paces Club in 4-1 Win Over Caps

BruinsFinal, Bruins 4-1: That’s it and that’s all. The Bruins put the finishing touches on a dominant performance, and they now head to Pittsburgh where they’ll get another shot at the Penguins in less than 24 hours.

Third period, 17:14, Bruins 4-1: It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend here in Boston, meaning they get at it early and often. That was likely the case for this crowd today, as they have been a boisterous bunch to say the least.

It’s not like they’ve had a shortage of things to yell about, either. The Bruins have been a far cry from the team that we’ve seen struggle in afternoon games in the past.

Third period, 10:26, Bruins 4-1: Matt Hendricks continues his adventurous day.

The Capitals forward was talking to Shawn Thornton before the puck was dropped in the Washington zone and nothing came of it. However, both Thornton and Adam McQuaid tried to get Hendricks to drop the gloves after the puck was dropped and the play was moved into the neutral zone.

Hendricks actually had his chance to fight either. He chose McQuaid, and the two danced in the middle of the ice, exchanging rights and lefts for about 10 seconds.

Third period, 10:14, Bruins 4-1: We’ll take this time to remind you that Anton Khudobin is having himself a very nice day. He’ll likely get lost in the shuffle with what the first line has done so far, but the goaltender has been fantastic again for the Bruins.

He’s got 27 saves right now, and that one goal was fluky at that.

Third period, 7:57, Bruins 4-1: There’s not much to update right now. The Bruins are doing a good job of nursing their lead, and they’re not giving the Capitals much of anything. So there’s that.

Third period, 2:41, Bruins 4-1: This is just the way the Bruins wanted to start the period, as they push their lead to three in the first few minutes.

This time they do it on the power play, thanks in large part to the first line. However, give credit to the goal-scorer, Rich Peverley. The forward won the draw clean in the Washington zone, and he went straight to the net. Lucic was already there as well creating traffic on a shot from David Krejci. Lucic tried to jam home the rebound, but couldn’t. However, Peverley was there to stuff it by Michal Neuvirth to extend the lead to three.

Third period, 2:32, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins are going on the power play.

Jack Hillen’s rough day continues, and he’s sent off for slashing.

Third period, 1:00, Bruins 3-1: The third period is under way as the Bruins look to finish off the Capitals.

Second period reaction: For a few minutes there, it looked like the second period was going to be a carbon copy of Thursday night’s middle frame when the B’s sleepwalked through the second.

It was ugly early in the second, including the fluky Washington goal, but the Bruins punched back literally and figuratively.

The first line continued to have a tremendous afternoon, as they were on the ice for Andrew Ference’s first goal of the season. That tally came on a play that involved some great spacing as well as north-to-south movement, two signs that things might be coming around for them.

Another sign that the first line might be coming around is the continued physical play from each member of that line. Nathan Horton personified that in a big way in the second period when he attempted to go berserk on Matt Hendricks. The latter has been running around all afternoon, and Horton apparently had enough. The big forward tried to break Hendricks in half, and it was just the culmination of a physical day for Horton who now has a Gordie Howe hat trick.

End scond period, Bruins 3-1: The fisticuffs continued just eight seconds after the Marchand fight.

Matt Hendricks, who has almost fought twice already, just went with Nathan Horton. It was a quick fight, and Horton was absolutely livid about something. He tackled Hendricks to the ice, and then pounded him a couple of more times before it was broken up.

Second period, 19:41, Bruins 3-1: Brad Marchand just fought. So did Mike Ribeiro. Today is a weird day.

The two noted agitators just dropped the gloves in a fight behind the play, and then engaged in a pretty even fight. You might give the edge to Ribeiro, but barely.

Second period, 14:12, Bruins 3-1: The first line is doing more than scoring right now. They just finished off a punishing shift in which each member of the line threw at least one check in the Washington end. This is what the Bruins need out of them on a more consistent basis.

Second period, 12:36, Bruins 3-1: Adam McQuaid picked up his second roughing penalty of the period, but the Bruins were able to kill the penalty off thanks in large part to a big save from Anton Khudobin.

The goalie made a sprawling save on Nicklas Backstrom, just closing off an opening near the post, and the Bruins keep the two-goal lead for now.

Second period, 8:02, Bruins 3-1: The first line continues to click, and this time they share the fun with Andrew Ference.

The veteran defenseman just scored his first goal of the season with help from both Nathan Horton and David Krejci.

Krejci carried the puck into the Washington zone, before passing to Horton. The big winger then left a drop pass behind him to Ference who stepped up and sniped one by Michal Neuvirth.

There was some great spacing on the play that led to that goal.

Second period, 6:01, Bruins 2-1: Things are starting to get a little chippy between these two.

The post-whistle activity just picked up with what could be best described as a line scrum. It ended when Adam McQuaid and Matt Hendricks tried to pair up and drop the gloves, but the linesmen were quick to get in the middle of things.

Both players were given roughing penalties. It will be interesting to see if they try to resume that scuffle upon leaving the penalty boxes.

Second period, 1:24, Bruins 2-1: This is not Johnny Boychuk’s favorite day.

The defenseman was roughed up in the first period, and he just found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. David Krejci looked to have made a good play in his own zone by intercepting a centering pass. However, he went to clear the puck into the corner, but his clearing attempt hit Johnny Boychuk in front of the net and the puck slid by Anton Khudobin.

Marcus Johansson ended up getting credited with the goal.

Second period, 0:01, Bruins 2-0: The second period opens, and the quest for a full 60-minute effort continues for the Bruins.

They’ll have to kill off what’s left of David Krejci’s penalty first, though.

First period reaction: Claude Julien has to be absolutely thrilled with what he’s gotten out of his first line thus far.

Their issues have been very well-documented in this space and in others, but they have brought their A-game for this one. The entire line is skating hard, particularly Milan Lucic. He’s been all over the place, hitting anything that moves and winning puck battles in the corners.

Those wins have turned into goals, too. Lucic has the primary assist on both goals. It’s good to see Nathan Horton regain his scoring touch, as he scored his first goal since Feb. 28 against Ottawa.

All in all, it was a good first period from the Bruins, but we’ve seen this a lot lately. They get out to good starts and then they throw it all away. It happened against the Capitals recently, too, as the B’s blew a three-goal first-period lead last week in D.C. They have talked over and over about how they want to have full-game efforts, and this game seems like the perfect time to get that going.

End first period, Bruins 2-0: The first period comes to a close with the Bruins on the penalty kill.

David Krejci got a little too aggressive, and he was called for interference while chasing a puck into the Washington zone. You gotta think that Claude Julien won’t be too unhappy with that, as it was a penalty bred out of hustle more than anything else.

The B’s will still have to kill off 1:15 of that penalty when the period ends, though.

More thoughts from the first period in just a little bit.

First period, 17:16, Bruins 2-0: Milan Lucic is having himself a day by doing all of the little things.

The power forward has brought his good game in this one, and he just set up yet another Bruins goal. Lucic abused Jack Hillen in the corner, just outworking the Washington defenseman to gather the puck and center it once again.

This time it was David Krejci who was the beneficiary of the Lucic hustle and passing, as he beat Mikal Neuvirth to give the B’s the two-goal lead.

First period, 14:12, Bruins 1-0: That’s exactly what you want to see out of the first line, as they get the Bruins’ first goal.

Milan Lucic won a puck battle in the corner, skated behind the net and fed a pass into the slot for Nathan Horton, and the big forward stepped up and blasted it by Michal Neuvirth.

It’s the first goal in nine games for Horton.

Give a lot of credit to Anton Khudobin as well. On the possession prior, he made a big save on an Alexander Ovechkin one-timer from the slot to keep the game scoreless.

First period, 10:26, 0-0: Capitals coach Adam Oates is a legend here in Boston, and he was just welcomed back for the first time as Washington’s head coach.

The head coach got a hearty standing ovation after a video tribute was played on the scoreboard video screen.

It looked like Johnny Boychuk had a leg-to-leg collision on the play he was injured on. Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough to keep him out for long. He’s back on the ice right now and will take the first shift after the break.

First period, 8:15, 0-0: There’s a lot going on in the early going here at the Garden.

Most notably, Johnny Boychuk suffered what looked like a very, very painful injury. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but the defenseman could barely skate off. He needed help getting down the tunnel as well, and couldn’t put any pressure on his left leg.

First period, 2:38, 0-0: Never mind on the line juggling. The Bruins started with Gregory Campbell, Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille up front which through me for a loop.

However, it looks like the lines are now back to normal — for now at least.

First period, 0:01, 0-0: The game is under way, and it looks like the Bruins may have juggled their lines for this one. We’ll keep you updated.

12:51 p.m.: In other news, the Bruins have signed prospect Alexander Fallstrom to an entry-level contract.

The Swedish forward was a fourth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2009 and was traded to the Bruins as part of the Chuck Kobasew trade.

He’s currently playing with Harvard where he has scored nine goals and 12 assists in 32 games with the Crimson.

12:41 p.m.: Let’s take a little closer look at the goaltending matchup, shall we?

For Anton Khudobin, this is his seventh start of the season. The last came Tuesday in Pittsburgh, where he was absolutely sensational. He ended up taking the loss as the Bruins wilted in the third period, but it certainly wasn’t his fault. This will be his first career start against Washington.

Michal Neuvirth is making his 10th appearance this season and his second in as many games. The goaltender started Thursday night against Carolina and made 36 saves in a win over the Hurricanes. He’s 1-2-0 in five career appearances against the Bruins, with a 3.53 goals against and a .841 save percentage.

12:31 p.m.: The Bruins and Capitals just took the ice for warmups.

Anton Khudobin led the Bruins out, and Michael Neuvirth led the Capitals out, so those will be your starting goaltenders.

12:10 p.m.: Good afternoon and welcome to TD Garden where the Bruins are an hour away from getting going with the Washington Capitals.

It’s going to be a gametime decision for Claude Julien on who is goaltender is for this one. Well, actually, the decision has probably been made already. The Bruins head coach wasn’t in the mood to divulge that information when meeting with the media just a little while ago.

We’ll learn who the starting goalie is momentarily once the club takes the ice for pregame warmups. When they do that, they’ll be wearing their green jerseys for St. Patrick’s Day. They’ll be wearing those for warmups only, however, as they’ll switch to their alternate third jerseys for the game.

8 a.m. ET: The Bruins owe the Capitals. They’ll get their chance to exact some revenge Saturday afternoon.

The Bruins open their second back-to-back of their busiest week of the season on Saturday when Washington visits TD Garden for the first time this season.

Boston will be looking for revenge for one of their worst losses of the season. Claude Julien’s bunch had one of their worst games of the season just 11 days ago when they blew a three-goal lead after one period. The Caps battled back to erase the deficit before winning it in overtime on a gorgeous Eric Fehr goal just 37 seconds into overtime.

The B’s are desperately looking for a better effort. They’ve hit something of a lull in the middle of the most grueling part of their schedule. Just about everyone who spoke following the club’s win over the Panthers on Thursday said they need to be better moving forward, and Saturday will be the first chance to right that ship.

Puck drop from the Garden is set for 1 p.m.