Bruins hold off Capitals 3-2

BOSTON MA - DECEMBER 18: Andrew Ference #21 of the Boston Bruins is congratulated by teammates Adam McQuaid #54 and Brad Marchand #63 after Ference scored a goal in the first period against the Washington Captials on December 18 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead and were able to hold off a hungry Washington Capitals team late in the game to earn a 3-2 victory to snap a 3-game skid on Saturday night at TD Garden. With the loss, the Capitals have dropped their last 8 games (0-6-2).

Patrice Bergeron netted the game's first goal 3:27 into the contest. Blake Wheeler carried the puck to the bottom of the right circle and dropped the puck back to Patrice Bergeron near the dot. Bergeron fired a quick one timer snap shot that beat Michal Neuvirth through the five-hole for Bergy's 6th goal of the season.

The B's extended their lead to 2-0 at 8:13 of the first period on a goal from Andrew Ference. Ference's slap shot from the left point made its way through traffic in front and past Neuvirth. The goal was Ference's first since February 22, 2009, when he scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Blake Wheeler spotted the Bruins with a 3-goal lead after he one-timed a half-slapper past Neuvirth with 2:57 left to play in the opening period. Patrice Bergeron had the puck behind the goal line and fed a pass to the right circle for Wheeler, who hammered home the puck for his 8th goal of the season.

The Capitals got on the board 2:18 into the game on a strike from Matt Bradley. Bradley weaved his way through the attacking zone and got off a quick wrister from a tough angle from the bottom of the right circle and beat Tim Thomas to the far post.

After completely dominating play in the third period, the Capitals finally cracked Tim Thomas in the third on goal by Karl Alzner at 14:32. Alzner's slapper from the high slot made it through heavy traffic in front to make it a one-goal game with just over five minute left to play.

The Capitals' onslaught continued late in the period, as the Caps rang up a 26-2 shot advantage in the third period. Washington had a golden opportunity to knot the game up with 11 seconds remaining in the third period when Tim Thomas made a great pad save on Alex Ovechkin's backhand attempt from point blank range to secure the victory.

Notes:

- Tim Thomas stopped 39 shots.

- Adam McQuaid and Matt Bradley swapped haymakers in the first period. McQuaid landed a few heavy punches in the bout. I hope we get to see this one on 24/7.

- Blake Wheeler played some inspired hockey, especially early in the game. Besides recording the goal and the assist, he was getting to the right spots on the ice, and making good decisions.

- The amount of shots the Bruins are giving up continues to be an issue. They can't give up 40+ shots a night and expect to win.

- That was an embarrassing third period effort for the B's. Luckily Tim Thomas was able to hold the fort.

- Alex Ovechkin registered game-highs in shots (7) and hits (6).

- It seems weird that it is only mid-December and we will not see the Capitals again this season.

- The Capitals registered more shots on goal in the third period (26) than the Bruins did all game (21).

- With the Capitals on the losing end of their last 8 games, the folks in D.C. are beginning to wonder if Bruce Boudreau's days behind the Capitals bench are numbered.

- They didn't show this on TV, but apparently a fan ran out on to the ice during the third period and was grabbed and escorted to security by linesman Ryan Galloway.

- The Bruins return to action tomorrow night when they host the Anaheim Ducks at TD Garden.

- For more on tonight's game, check out Japers' Rink

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