Washington Capitals Lose to Boston Bruins in NHL Game

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BOSTON, Jan. 27 -- The Washington Capitals went into the all-star break talking about how they needed to be more disciplined.

Seven days later, the subject hasn't changed.

Nicklas Backstrom was in the penalty box when Boston Bruins winger David Krejci fired the puck off of defenseman Shaone Morrisonn's leg in overtime to send the Capitals to a 3-2 defeat in a meeting between the Eastern Conference's top two teams Tuesday night at TD Banknorth Garden.

"When they've got one of the best power plays in the league," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of the Bruins' third-ranked unit, "and you get two minutes of four-on-three, it's tough to stop."

Although Krejci's power play goal came in a four-on-three situation and it banked in off Morrisonn, the tally was the Bruins' second on the power play and served to underscore two deficiencies that have haunted the Capitals recently: They have been assessed the fifth most minor penalties (244) in the league, and the penalty kill has yielded at least one goal in nine straight games. The unit is ranked 24th in the league (78.5-percent effectiveness) and will be Boudreau's focus before the Capitals face the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, he said.

In the Capitals' last game before the all-star break, the struggling Ottawa Senators scored three times on the power play and won, 3-2.

"We can't take penalties against one of the best power plays in the league," Morrisonn said. "At least we got a point, but we have to work on the penalty kill and being more disciplined."

Mike Green and Michael Nylander scored in the first period for the Capitals, but they were unable to squeeze a single puck past Thomas in the second and third period, despite taking a total of 36 shots.

The extra session got off to a fast start. Thomas stopped Alex Ovechkin -- who survived a scare late in the second period -- then turned back Nicklas Backstrom's shot on the rebound with an eye-popping pad save. But Backstrom was sent off 48 seconds into the extra session for hooking Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' 6-foot-9 captain, giving the Bruins a four-on-three advantage for two minutes.

About a minute later, the Bruins had set up deep in the Washington zone and Krejci fired a shot that appeared to hit Morrisonn on the thigh before eluding José Theodore, who had 25 saves and was outstanding in the third period and overtime.

"I think we played great," Ovechkin said. "I don't think Nicklas Backstrom even touch Chara."

Late in the second period, Ovechkin left the game after colliding hard into the corner boards shoulder first. Ovechkin had been carrying the puck into the zone with speed and, at the time, was being pursued by Chara, who appeared to help Ovechkin lose his balance with his stick. Chara was whistled for hooking.

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