boston.com Sports your connection to The Boston Globe

Lapointe hitting stride

Veteran is finding his scoring touch

Defensive hockey may be boring, but it can be effective. The Washington Capitals, one of the worst teams in the league, put the fans to sleep at the FleetCenter last night, and they lulled the Bruins to the point that what should have been a runaway turned into a close game.

The Bruins grabbed an easy 2-0 first-period lead, but it turned into a tussle, and Boston prevailed, 3-2, thanks to the determination of right wing Marty Lapointe.

Lapointe, who was on a power play with his line of center Patrice Bergeron and left wing Sergei Samsonov, took a pass from Bergeron in front of the net and popped one off Capitals goaltender Olaf Kolzig's blocker and into the net at 11:37 of the third period. The tally gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead. It may have been a drowsy win, but it will look like a barn-burner in the standings.

"I got the puck in the back of my skates, and all I tried to do was shoot it," said Lapointe. "I've only been out on the power play for two games, and I've gotten one goal [each game], so we'll see. But I'm getting some ice time on the power play, and I want to make the most of it.

"Patrice made a great play. He came out with the puck. I took a step back, he gave me the pass in the skates, and I got it on my stick and shot it. Our guys are moving on the power play. They are moving the puck, and my job is to go to the net. Our unit works to get the puck deep, and that's what we did.

"Patrice made a great play, and I was just in the right spot at the right time. Sammy likes to play with the puck a lot, and Patrice is patient with it. With me on that line, I go and make sure they have the room that they should. I just go out there and create some havoc. I didn't say too much tonight because it wasn't that kind of a game. But I do like to get in front of the goalie, and try to make trouble for him."

Lapointe missed the first three games of the season while recovering from arthroscopic surgery to repair a cartilage tear in his right knee. Upon returning, he scored just one goal in his first 11 games, but he has scored three in his last five. If Lapointe, always a physical force, can get going offensively, the Bruins -- who have earned at least 1 point in 11 straight games (7-0-1-3) -- will be even better.

"We didn't play a great game tonight," said Lapointe. "We played well in the first period, but the second and third were just OK. The third goal was a big one, and we held on to it. As the season goes along, these other teams are going to play a lot better. The Capitals played tough tonight. We're not a team with nothing to prove. We've only played 19 games. We have a lot more to prove. These points we're getting now will be very important as the season goes along. I don't think we're going to sit on our laurels.

"These teams behind us are going to try and catch up."

The Lapointe, Bergeron (five goals), Samsonov (five goals) line is a top group at even strength. Coach Mike Sullivan just adds more firepower to the team when he puts them on the power play.

"When Marty's on the power-play unit, he really creates a lot of havoc for them," said Sullivan. "He makes it difficult for the other team's goaltender. He opens up the ice for the other guys. And he's getting rewarded because he's right there for the rebounds."

SEARCH GLOBE ARCHIVES
 
Globe Archives Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months