The Capitals outshot Boston 26-2 in the third and 41-21 overall, but Tim Thomas allowed just one of those third-period shots to get past him to help Boston snap a three-game losing streak.
The Capitals have now lost eight in a row, and won't face the Bruins again this season unless they meet in the playoffs. The Bruins continue their pre-Christmas homestand by welcoming Anaheim to the Garden on Monday.
Third Period, 19:20, Bruins 3-2: The net is empty for the Caps, who don't have a timeout left after using it in the first period.
Third Period, 17:32, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins finally clear the zone after more extended pressure by the Caps, who now have a 37-21 edge in shots. Thomas is earning his money in this one.
Third Period, 14:32, Bruins 3-2: Thomas could only hold out so long, as Washington pulls within one as Karl Alzner launches a shot through a screen in front that gets by the Bruins netminder.
After the goal, two young fans climbed over the glass and onto the ice, causing a delay before they were taken into custody by security.
Third Period, 13:39, Bruins 3-1: Thomas finally gets a breather with a TV timeout, but not before making one more stop off a deflection in front. Shot are now 33-20 for Washington. Boston led that category 19-15 after the second period.
Third Period, 12:25, Bruins 3-1: Thomas comes up with a couple more saves in close as Washington continues to throw everything it has at him, with a 17-1 edge in shots in the third now.
Third Period, 9:05, Bruins 3-1: This whole period is being played in the Bruins end, and only another stellar night from Thomas is keeping the Bruins in the lead.
The shots are now 14-1 in this period in Washington's favor.
Third Period, 6:45, Bruins 3-1: Thomas is under siege now, as the Caps pour shots in on him. But he's turning everything aside, including a rebound in front by Eric Fehr.
Washington now has a 27-20 edge in shots. The Caps are outshooting Boston 12-1 in the third.
Third Period, 4:30, Bruins 3-1: Erskine nails Lucic hard into the boards in the corner. Lucic refused to fight him in the first, but Erskine still found a way to get a good shot in on the Bruins winger.
Third Period, 3:30, Bruins 3-1: Bad news for the Bruins despite the lead, as Brad Marchand suffered an undisclosed injury late in the second. It was just announced that he will not return to this game.
Third Period, 0:00, Bruins 3-1: The final frame is under way, with the Bruins looking to close out a win over the Caps at the Garden.
Second Intermission Notes: The Bruins are 20 minutes away from ending their losing streak at three games and extending Washington's to eight. But they'll need to play more like they did in the first than like they did in the second to make sure they put this one in the win column.
The Capitals got some life when Tyler Seguin failed to convert a breakaway chance and Matt Bradley put Washington on the board just 11 seconds later.
The good news is that Boston is 13-0-0 when leading after two periods, while Washington is just 2-11-2 when trailing after two. Boston also has an NHL_best plus-24 goal differential in the third period this year, scoring 39 while allowing just 15.
End Second Period, Bruins 3-1: The second period comes to a close with the Bruins still holding a two-goal edge despite a strong effort from the Caps to get back in the game.
Washington had a 10-8 edge in shots that period, but Boston still leads 19-15 overall. The Caps also lost Marcus Johansson in the final minute, as he limped to the locker room in pain. No word yet on the nature of his injury or if he will be able to return.
Second Period, 18:18, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins finally threaten with Greg Campbell having a chance in front.
Neuvirth makes the save, but is injured on the play. Play is stopped, but Neuvirth stays in the game after the trainer checks him out.
Second Period, 14:58, Bruins 3-1: Adam McQuaid continues his strong night as he goes down to block a one-timer from Andrew Gordon in the left slot, breaking up a potential scoring chance for Washington.
Second Period, 13:30, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins continue to sit back too much in this period. Even with the way Washington has struggled of late, a two-goal lead isn't that safe against this offense.
The Caps have an 8-4 edge in shots this period.
Second Period, 10:07, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins need something positive here, as they have been back on their heels since Washington scored and the Caps have a chance to get right back in this one.
Second Period, 7:23, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins kill off that penalty, though Ovechkin nearly scored with a shot off the side of the net.
Even with the successful penalty kill, the Bruins now have a game on their hands as the Caps have new life after finally scoring on Thomas.
Second Period, 5:23, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins now face a big penalty kill, as Brad Marchand goes off for two minutes for high sticking.
Second Period, 5:05, Bruins 3-1: Wide-open action here at the Garden, and Thomas nearly gives one away when he doesn't hold on to the puck for a faceoff, but he redeems himself with several acrobatic saves to keep it 3-1.
Second Period, 2:18, Bruins 3-1: In what could be a huge turning point, the Bruins just miss a chance to extend their lead as Tyler Seguin is denied on a clear breakaway, and Washington counters with a goal at the other end of the ice just 11 seconds later.
Matt Bradley scored from the right slot to get the Caps on the board.
Second Period, 0:26, Bruins 3-0: Things go from bad to worse for teh Caps, as star defenseman Mike Green is hurt on a check from Zdeno Chara in the corner.
Green is bleeding from the mouth as he goes off for repairs. No penalty was called on the play.
Second Period, 0:00, Bruins 3-0: And the middle frame is under way, with the Bruins looking to build on their lead. They are 11-0-0 when leading after the first period this season and 15-0-0 when they've led by two goals or more.
First Intermission Notes: The Bruins got the start they needed with a near-perfect opening period. Now they just have to carry that effort through 40 more minutes.
Boston has an 11-5 edge in shots, though it could be worse, as Washington has blocked 10 shots to Boston's 2. Andrew Ference has just one shot on net with four other attempts blocked, but he made the one that got through count with his first goal in 99 games.
Patrice Bergeron leads the Bruins with three shots and has a goal and an assist and is a plus-2. Adam McQuaid is also a plus-2 with an assist, a shot, a hit, a blocked shot and a resounding win in a fight with Matt Bradley, and did all that in just 4:37 of ice time.
Alex Ovechkin wasn't much of a factor in the first, as he was a minus-2 with just one shot, two hits and a giveaway in 7:07.
End First Period, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins head into the first intermission with a three-goal lead after a dominant opening period.
Caps defenseman John Erskine tried to get something going in the final minute, challenging Milan Lucic to fight for most of an entire shift, but the Bruins winger refused to drop the gloves. Those two have fought twice before, including once earlier this season.
First Period, 17:03, Bruins 3-0: The Bruins add another, as Wheeler one-times a pass from Bergeron through the pads from the right circle as Boston begins to pull away from the reeling Caps.
Shots are now 11-3 in favor of Boston.
First Period, 15:50, Bruins 2-0: Shot counts don't always reflect what's happening on the ice, but the Bruins have earned their 10-3 edge so far in this one. Impressive effort to this point from a club that's struggled with its starts for much of the year.
First Period, 14:50, Bruins 2-0: Nice hustle play by Wheeler, who beat John Erskine to the puck to neagte an icing call. The Bruins have been a step ahead of teh Caps all game and look like they want this one just a bit more than Washington does.
First Period, 12:10, Bruins 2-0: Things have settled down a bit since the second goal and ensuing fight, but the Bruins got the strong start they needed. Now they just have to maintain this momentum and continue to pressure the Caps.
First Period, 8:17, Bruins 2-0: The gloves are off as Matt Bradley challenges McQuaid after the Caps took a timeout following the goal.
Big mistakes for Bradley. They trade rights for a while, but McQuaid takes over late and lands some big shots.
First Period, 8:13, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins make it 2-0 as Marchand finds Andrew Ference at the left point with a backhand pass out of the corner and Ference fires a shot through with Shawn Thornton providing the screen in front.
That is Ference's first goal in 99 games, so he narrowly avoids hitting triple digits in his goal-less drought.
First Period, 6:51, Bruins 1-0: Rough stretch there for the Caps, who still don't have a shot.
Ovechkin whiffed on an attempt, which led to a Bruins break. Bergeron then stole the puck from John Erskine for a shot in front and Nathan Horton dumped Ovechkin with a hit.
First Period, 5:39, Bruins 1-0: There's a playoff feel to this one as two desperate teams are clashing. Every whistle is bringing a scrum with pushing and shoving.
The Bruins are the only ones with any offense so far though, outshooting Washington 5-0.
First Period, 3:27, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins strike first as the Bergeron line connects after several near misses.
Wheeler drives down the right wing and drops it for Beregron, then drives the net to provide the screen while Bergeron wrists it home. Adam McQuaid gets the second assist in addition to Wheeler.
First Period, 1:02, 0-0: Something to watch for later, Brad Marchand and Alex Ovechkin bumped and stared each other down as Marchand went off after a whistle and Ovechkin was coming on.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: And we're under way here at the Garden, as the Bruins look to snap a three-game losing streak and Washington is out to end an even longer skid. The Capitals have dropped seven straight heading into the final meeting between the clubs this season.
7 p.m.: The Bruins will open with Patrice Bergeron's line. Mark Recchi and Blake Wheeler are on the wings, while Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk are on defense and Tim Thomas in goal.
The Capitals counter with their top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble, with Scott Hannan and Mike Green on defense and Michal Neuvirth in the net.
6:55 p.m.: The Bruins have scratched Daniel Paille, while Mark Stuart (broken hand) remains out.
Tyler Seguin will skate with Marc Savard and Michael Ryder. Seguin and Paille alternated on that line during the line drills in warm-ups.
The Capitals have scratched tough guys D.J. King, defenseman Tyler Sloan and forward Mathieu Perreault. Alexander Semin also is out. He did not make the trip with a lower-body injury.
6:30 p.m.: The Bruins and Capitals have taken the ice for warm-ups, and Tim Thomas and Michal Neuvirth lead their respective teams out.
That will be the goaltending matchup as expected.
Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille are both skating in warm-ups, though Seguin is expected to play.
6 p.m.: The Bruins are Caps will get their final regular-season meeting of the year under way in just over an hour.
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate. He's expected to get the start for Boston, while Michal Neuvirth will be in net for Washington.
Tyler Seguin should also play again after returning to the lineup Thursday following a two-game absence. He missed last Saturday with the flu and was a healthy scratch Wednesday in Buffalo. He discussed what he learned watching from the press box and his budding chemistry with Marc Savard after the morning skate.
Also check out a full breakdown of this matchup in our Facing Off feature.
8 a.m.: There's still a week to go before Christmas, but believe it or not Saturday night will mark the final meeting of the season between the Bruins and Capitals unless they meet up in the playoffs.
The postseason should be pretty far from the minds of the players on both teams though. While both clubs remain in playoff positions with Washington third in the East and Boston clinging to eighth, they each come in riding season-long losing streaks.
The Bruins have dropped three in a row for the first time after falling to Buffalo and Montreal in a quick road trip earlier this week. The Capitals have been struggling even longer, losing seven straight and managing just nine total goals in those seven games.
That should have both teams playing with plenty of desperation in this one, which would make for an entertaining evening at the Garden.
The puck drops at 7 p.m., so check back here throughout the day for updates on all the action.
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