The Boston Bruins were in DC to take on the Washington Capitals after they split the first two games at one apiece in round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The series was a best-of-five going into the night.
Veteran Bruin Tim Thomas was holding his own in the first two meetings of the round, while the Caps' young netminder Braden Holtby was also keeping his team in the series—having been the surprise of the playoffs to date.
The Caps' faithful were chomping at the bit to give Thomas the business. Several fans showed up with signs of U.S. President Barack Obama stating "HOPE You Get Pulled." There were also print-out masks of President Obama and large cut-outs with a watermarked "I Missed You at the White House, Tim" furnished by russianmachineneverbreaks.com.
This was an attempt to try and get into Thomas' head regarding his refusal to make the traditional visit to the White House after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup last summer.
The Caps got on the power play and opened the scoring on a screened Tim Thomas, as Alexander Semin blew one by Thomas' right side. It was a great shot and a great screen.
Both teams were playing tight defense.
Bruins forward Milan Lucic looked to stir up the pot at the end of the period. The Caps bit, but only a little.
Just 35 seconds into the period, Rich Peverley gained the zone. He then skated laterally from left to right inside the attacking zone and whipped a shot right at Holtby that seemed to have fooled him. The puck went off his glove and over he shoulder to find the back of the net, resulting in a tied game.
Only 13 seconds later, Alexander Ovechkin skated quickly up the ice with a rolling puck. He slapped it at the net with a bad angle, and it beat Thomas for the Caps to regain the lead—2-1 Caps.
Near the halfway mark of the game, Daniel Paille showed a rare display of fancy puck-handling.
Greg Zanon shot at the net from the point, and Paille was all alone in front of Holtby. He batted the puck down, deeked it from Holtby's right to left, and faked him out enough to leave the entire left side of the net wide open.
Game knotted at two.
In what was a goal-stingy series thus far, both teams have scored the same amount of goals they had scored in the two previous games. The four goals they scored in 144 minutes, they matched it inside the first 30 minutes in Game 3.
Lucic was at it again, as he and Brooks Laich were bumping each other outside the faceoff. Lucic looked to try and slew-foot Laich on two occasions.
Lucic then upended Laich and both of them were sent to the box, sending a message to both sides. Don't mess around, boys, this game is going to be called tight.
The Bruins take the lead for the first time of the game with just 62 seconds into the period. After Ovechkin seemed to think the play was going to be called offside, the Bruins kept playing.
That created a half-board cycle. After a massive amount of players in front of Holtby, he stopped one shot that got to him, but a rebound found Brian Rolston and he five-holed it to put the score at 3-2 for the Bruins.
After a post-whistle altercation in front of the Bruins net, Jason Chimera gave Brad Marchand a rather hard stick shove right in the giggleberries. Marchand was sent to the ice and Chimera was sent to the sin bin.
Shortly after, Caps fans were chanting "refs, you suck" even though the count for penalty calls were six calls on the Caps and four on the Bruins at that time.
Zdeno Chara was whacked in the neck inadvertently by Matt Hendricks' stick, but no call was made.
The Caps tied it up with Nicklas Backstrom's stretch pass to Laich, who went in all alone. He got Thomas to go down too early, and Laich roofed it to tie the game at three with six minutes left in regulation.
Lucic got hot under the collar and he let his temper get the better of him, as there was some pushing on him after Holtby gloved the puck to stop the play.
Lucic decked Hendricks and that brought in Karl Alzner to grab him from behind. The ensuing scrum resulted in Lucic to the box and it negated the power play as he got two extra minutes for his efforts and it was a four-on-four.
Chara ripped a low shot, but it hit Roman Hamrlik's stick to roof and the Bruins regained the lead.
Marchand made two clear dives that were seconds apart. The first of them could have been a seller for interference, but the latter was an embarrassment as he went down and seemed like he was hurt, but immediately jumped up in soccer-like fashion.
Hopefully Bruins coach Claude Julien will have a word with Marchand about his actions.
Inside the final minute, Holtby vacated the net to get the extra attacker on for a bid to push this game to a third consecutive overtime game. The Bruins collapsed on the net to prevent any further damage and they retake the series lead 2-1.
At the end of regulation, Peverley was checked into the boards by Ovechkin, and Peverley retaliated by tripping him.
Backstrom approached Peverley and cross-checked him high and earned the match penalty.
VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan will review it and has the discretion to uphold or rescind the call.
This is Cory Ducey saying, "Hit Hard, but Keep It Clean...and KNOCK IT OFF, MARCHY!!"