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Posted at 11:02 PM ET, 10/21/2010

Bruins 4, Caps 1 as Washington can't solve the Tim Thomas puzzle

So much of the first period at TD Garden Thursday seemed similar to what happened at Verizon Center Tuesday. The Capitals had several scoring chances against the Boston Bruins and acrobatic Tim Thomas, but somehow none of those shots ever found the back of the net and broke the ice.

Instead, it was the Bruins who struck first and in a rather small period of time blew the game open. You can read more about how Boston took control after a few crucial moments between the end of the first and start of the second period to defeat the Capitals 4-1 for Washington's second straight loss in my story for Friday's hard-copy edition.

Once again, Thomas, who everyone thought wasn't starting until he led the Bruins on to the ice for warm-ups, proved to be an unorthodox, unsolvable puzzle for the Capitals. He calmly turned away prime chances by the Brooks Laich-Marcus Johansson-Alexander Semin trio, several more by the top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble, who had a few odd bounces on the doorstep that never found their way past Thomas, and countless other opportunities.

"You know, It's always tough to play against a good goalie," rookie Marcus Johansson said. "He had a great day. Obviously he was amazing and I think we did a lot of stuff right to get goals but he was always there to stop them. That's the way it is sometimes, he had a great day."

Thomas's only gaffe was when he opted to play the puck with Jason Chimera streaking into the zone. His clearing attempt went straight to Chimera who fired the puck into a wide open net.

In all, Thomas stopped all but one of the 39 shots he faced Thursday, bringing his two-game totals against the Capitals to 73 saves on 75 shots. That the Capitals have been creating so many chances yet struggling to finish makes an interesting predicament for Coach Bruce Boudreau. He likes to tinker and tweak lines to search for the most effective combinations like most coaches, but with all the offensive opportunities: Will he leave the lines intact or continue to move players around?

"It is something I will have to think about," Boudreau said. "Guys [are] not producing that should be producing and we want them to produce. Is it because they are not playing well? Is it because they are snake-bit? I think they can all play better, but it's a combination of both."

Other notes and quotes from tonight's loss to the Bruins:
-- Boudreau said Johansson "was probably our best forward." The rookie centerman played 13:36 and, in addition to having an important presence on the back check on a few occasions, Johansson meshed well with new linemates Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin. He created scoring chances with both, including a particularly savvy set up for Semin in the second period.

-- The Capitals' penalty killing streak ended at 25 for 25 as the Bruins tallied three power-play goals on four opportunities Thursday.

--Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the power play continues to struggle. After finishing 0 for 4 in the second game against the Bruins the Capitals are 4 for 30, or 13.3 percent, with the man-advantage so far this season.

--The Capitals are back on the ice at KCI for practice tomorrow at 11 a.m.

By  |  11:02 PM ET, 10/21/2010

Categories:  Boston Bruins, Boston Bruins | Tags:  Marcus Johansson, goalkeeping

 
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