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Capitals 3, Bruins 2 (OT)

Bruins blow a big chance to capitalize

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / April 6, 2010

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WASHINGTON — For a player who seemingly prevented Washington’s first goal, got the Bruins going with a strike of his own late in the first period, and logged the second-most ice time (28:39) on an injury-wracked blue line, Dennis Wideman deserved a better fate than watching from the penalty box as the Capitals won in overtime last night.

But 20 seconds after he was called for high-sticking Tomas Fleischmann, Wideman had the most helpless feeling in the Verizon Center as he saw Alexander Semin tee off a shot that bounced off the leg of Brooks Laich, who then shoveled the rebound past Tuukka Rask at 0:44 to send the Bruins off with a 3-2 loss.

“It was high,’’ Wideman acknowledged of his stick. “It just [stinks] that it worked out that way and end ed up being a penalty they won the hockey game on after we played so well and worked so hard for the whole game.’’

But at a time when the Bruins will accept any movement up the Eastern Conference standings, they were satisfied with gaining 1 point. The seventh-place Bruins have 85 points, 3 more than the ninth-place Rangers, who visit Buffalo tonight. The Bruins can only be passed tonight by Philadelphia. The eighth-place Flyers (84 points) play Toronto.

The Bruins recorded the point against the NHL’s most flammable offense without three regular defensemen: Dennis Seidenberg (wrist), Mark Stuart (pinkie), and Andrew Ference (groin).

“That was a good point,’’ Wideman said. “Obviously they’re a great team and even better at home. I thought we did a real good job to get a point. But when you have an effort like that, you always hope to pull a deuce out of it.’’

Laich’s goal was the only Washington score that wasn’t reviewed. In the first period, Nicklas Backstrom took a pass from Alex Ovechkin and threaded a shot under Rask’s left arm. The goaltender thought he had it, only to feel the puck squirt out and roll toward the goal line. As the on-edge puck tumbled in, Wideman stopped its progress with his backhand, but referee Bill McCreary ruled it a goal at 7:36, giving the Capitals a 1-0 lead.

Wideman disagreed.

“I don’t think it was in,’’ said Wideman. “Was there a problem with the replay or something? I don’t think it totally crossed the line. It was one of those ones where it was so close. It could have gone either way. I think it was one of those ones where if it was no call on the ice or he waved it off on the ice, then it would have been no goal. I don’t know. I don’t think it crossed all the way.’’

A lengthy review upheld McCreary’s call.

“I’m still not 100 percent convinced,’’ coach Claude Julien said. “But the decision’s made and you move on. That’s what we did. We fall behind, 1-0, against a team like that, I like the way we fought back and took the 2-1 lead.’’

Wideman’s goal with 1.6 seconds remaining in the first period helped swing momentum the Bruins’ way. At 19:53, Patrice Bergeron won an offensive-zone faceoff against David Steckel, pulling the puck back to Zdeno Chara. The captain thought about shooting, but Wideman called for the puck. Chara heard him, and sent a pass to the left point. Wideman teed up a one-timer that, with Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic taking up space in front, sailed over Jose Theodore to make it a 1-1 game.

The Bruins took a 2-1 lead at 7:55 of the second period when an in-stride Bergeron took a pass from Lucic, shook off a Shaone Morrisonn hook, deked Theodore, and tapped the puck in with a soft forehand.

But the Capitals tied the score with their own late goal. After Ovechkin beat Bergeron and Wideman down the left side, the shoot-first wing flipped a backhand pass out front. Mike Knuble, who gained position on Chara, shoveled the puck past Rask at 19:31 of the second. A review concluded that Knuble didn’t kick the puck in.

Earlier in the second, when the score was 1-1, Semin clipped Chara with a high stick that sent the captain off the ice with blood pouring from his nose. No penalty was called. However, the Bruins didn’t do themselves any good on their three power plays, going 0 for 3 with only three total shots landed on Theodore (28 saves). They have gone without a power-play goal in 13 of 14 games.

The Bruins next play Thursday at TD Garden against Buffalo.

“We’ll take anything right now,’’ said Recchi. “That’s a big point for us regardless. You come in here on the road and get a point against a pretty good team. That’s something we can continue to build on. It spreads us a little farther from the Rangers and Philly, and gets us a point closer to Montreal. So anything helps at this point. We’ve got to go home and do some work at home on Thursday. We’ve got to get some things going at home.’’

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