BRUINS 3, CAPITALS 1
Bruins get it right
Winless streak finally ends at 6
WASHINGTON -- They kept saying they were too good a team for success not to happen. They said they liked their roster, their chemistry, and their talent level. For weeks, the Bruins have said they have what it takes to turn their fortunes around.
But for weeks, it wasn't happening. For weeks, they would say all the right things, practice what they needed to, and stay positive, but on most nights, they'd end up losing anyway. They'd find new and maddening ways to fail.
Last night, they finally put together a strong effort that translated into a 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals at the MCI Center.
It ended their winless streak at six games and was their third win in 18 contests (3-8-6-1).
Goalie Felix Potvin, who made his first start since Dec. 11 against Washington here, made 28 saves for his first victory since Nov. 14.
"We've got to build on a win like this," said coach Mike Sullivan, whose club faces Ottawa at home tonight. "This is obviously an important week for us and we've got to get right back at it and we've got to continue to do the things we did tonight that brought us some success."
A sense of urgency, absent much of the time during the Bruins' struggles, was in evidence last night. Defenseman Hal Gill, who potted his first goal of the year, said they altered their mind-set.
"Sully came in and said take the mentality that we were down two and we'd play with a little more urgency," said Gill. "We went out with that and in the beginning we established ourselves and showed we were committed to doing what we needed to do to win. It carried out through everyone."
The Capitals took a 1-0 lead on a Jeff Halpern goal. Rick Berry, positioned at the left point, took a wrist shot that Jaromir Jagr tipped in front. Potvin made the initial save but couldn't scramble back up in time, and Halpern fired the rebound into the net at 12:14.
Just over three minutes later the Bruins pulled even with a goal from an unlikely source. Joe Thornton started the play when he beat Dainius Zubrus on a faceoff in the left circle. Gill, who had a total of 17 goals in his first 500 career NHL games, scored No. 18 in his 501st when he got the puck from Thornton and wristed a shot that beat goalie Olaf Kolzig through a screen. It was Gill's first goal since Feb. 4 of last season, when he scored against Colorado. "I really could care less about getting goals," said Gill. "I'd rather get the win."
The Bruins took the lead late in the period on a shorthanded goal. They had given up three shorthanded strikes Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, which cost them the game. Last night, it was the Bruins' turn. With left wing Ivan Huml in the penalty box for elbowing, Travis Green and Ted Donato turned a two-on-one break into the go-ahead goal. Green raced up the left side and dished it to Donato, who was below the right circle. Donato swept a forehander inside the right post, giving him his third goal of the year and first since Dec. 11.
With defenseman Sergei Gonchar off for hooking at 12:50 of the second, Boston's power play went to work. Brian Rolston's slapper from the left point had goal written all over it but it caught the right post and bounced away. At the other end, Potvin held the fort. He had a rough outing here in that Dec. 11 start, when he surrendered three goals in the first 6:37 before being replaced by Andrew Raycroft. Last night, Potvin stopped 17 of 18 shots in the first 40 minutes.
Patrice Bergeron got his eighth goal of the year to boost the Bruins' lead midway through the third. Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn, who along with Huml was playing his first game with Boston after being summoned from Providence Sunday night, picked up his first NHL point. He took a shot from the left point that Bergeron deflected in front past Kolzig for the 3-1 lead at 7:37.
"I thought tonight we played awesome defensively," said Potvin. "We can't be satisfied with one game. We have to keep pushing. We won one game and now we have to rebound and win another one."
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