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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Bruins laugh at your injury problems

In the first game of the unofficial second half of the season (after the All-Star break), the Boston Bruins were able to do something which they couldn't do earlier in the season: beat the Washington Capitals.

It wasn't exactly a piece of art but the B's (35-8-5) avenged two previous losses to the Caps (30-15-4) with a 3-2 overtime win last night at the Garden.

And the best news of the night for Boston was that three of its key injured players returned to action: Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference were all back on the ice.

David Krejci (from Dennis Wideman and Zdeno Chara) won it with his 18th goal of the year, on a 4-on-3 power play. Krejci tried to pass across the crease to Marc Savard but the puck deflected off Washington defenseman Shaone Morrison's skate and past Capitals goalie Jose Theodore.

Washington took a 1-0 lead 2:08 into the game as defenseman Mike Green (his 13th; from Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin) beat B's goalie Tim Thomas with a slap shot.

Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton had a rare moment of goal-scoring prowess as he potted an unassisted goal (his fourth) at 9:26 of the first.

The Capitals came right back with a late goal (21 seconds left) in the first by Michael Nylander (5th), from Tomas Fleischmann and Chris Clark.

Savard (17th) tied it in the second with a power-play goal from Bergeron. Playing right wing, instead of his normal center, Bergeron kept the puck in the Capitals zone with a dive and then he found Savard, who put the wrister in the net.

Neither team scored in the third but Bruins rookie Byron Bitz tangled with Capitals goon Donald Brashear. Many feel that Brashear is the best fighter in the NHL so it was no surprise that he won the battle but Bitz still gave his team some life.

Fresh off the All-Star game appearance, Thomas improved to 21-5-4 with 34 saves, including two showstoppers on Nicklas Backstrom and Ovechkin in overtime. He'll have to carry the load for an undetermined amount of time since Manny Fernandez is out with an undisclosed injury.

Another division leader, the New Jersey Devils come to the Garden tomorrow night as the Bruins' schedule the next few weeks is loaded with quality opponents.

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