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Washington Capitals edge Boston Bruins on overtime goal by Brooks Laich

Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman (6) celebrates his goal with center Patrice Bergeron, right, and Zdeno Chara (33) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Monday, April 5, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman (6) celebrates his goal with center Patrice Bergeron, right, and Zdeno Chara (33) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Monday, April 5, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (Nick Wass - AP)

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By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Brooks Laich experienced the full range of emotions in the final six minutes of Monday's game against the Boston Bruins. One moment, he was seated in the penalty box after taking an offensive zone penalty in a tied game, hoping his teammates would kill it off and give him another chance.

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The next, the winger was burying the puck behind goalie Tuukka Rask to lift the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 overtime victory at Verizon Center.

"When he took [the penalty] all he wanted was another chance," said Coach Bruce Boudreau, whose team went to extra time for the 10th time in the past 20 games. "You could see when he came out of the penalty box, he was hungry as all get out. That's why I threw him in front. I knew he would pay the extra price to get the goal."

And boy did he almost pay a price. With Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman in the penalty box for high sticking, Laich parked himself in front of the net and was hit by an errant Alexander Semin shot on the inside of his thigh. Forty-four seconds into overtime, Laich snapped the puck past Rask, the NHL's leader in goals against average and save percentage, before he could adjust.

"A couple of inches to the left, and I would have been in a world of hurt," joked Laich, who was awarded the hard hat. "It was pretty close. I don't know where [Semin] was shooting that one."

The win was the Capitals' third in a row overall and third this season over Boston, their potential first-round opponent.

"We play them [again] Sunday and we'll have pretty good idea of what they're trying to do," Boudreau said.

Alex Ovechkin didn't break out of his goal funk, but the two-time MVP put forth a strong effort. He finished with a game-high six shots on goal and, with a pair of primary assists, pulled him within two points of Vancouver's Henrik Sedin in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. It was, however, 15th time in the past 18 games that Ovechkin was held without a goal.

"He competed," Boudreau said. "He got involved. He wasn't afraid to hit today. Ever since that suspension, I think it has been on his mind."

Ovechkin, who received the first star, said he was inspired by a private chat with Boudreau before the game.

"I talked to Bruce about it, about what I have to do better," Ovechkin said. "I didn't skate well last couple games. Today, I play better."

José Theodore had another strong performance, stopping 28 shots, including all 12 he faced in the third period and a highlight reel stacked pad stop on Michael Ryder on the first.


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