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Bruins get big and bad in Game 3; Capitals’ Backstrom gets match penalty

Greg Wyshynski
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Milan Lucic is not a crybaby.

That's the motion Karl Alzner, Washington Capitals defenseman, made with his hands to his eyes as Lucic was being hauled to the penalty box late in the third period of Game 3 between the Boston Bruins and the Caps.

"Well, there's ... uh ... a lot of [evidence] on my side to show that I'm not a crybaby," said Lucic, pausing for a considerable time to contemplate the mockery.

"That's a lot coming from a guy I think that's got two roughing penalties in three years, so there you go."

Lucic, by comparison, had two roughing penalties on the same play late in the Bruins' 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals, and another roughing call late in the second period. He and his teammates were as engaged physically as they've been all series, and the Big Bad Bruins act sparked their offense and their defense to take a 2-1 series lead.

"We got a little bit more of our emotions involved towards the end," said goalie Tim Thomas. "I guess that's the way it usually turns out in a playoff series. It was pretty mild the first two games. "

[ Recap: Bruins win 4-3, take series lead over Capitals ]

The game-winning goal came with Lucic in the penalty box, serving a double-minor for a dust-up with Matt Hendricks of the Capitals. Zdeno Chara, who was earlier caught with a high stick from Hendricks that wasn't whistled, blasted a shot from the right side that tipped off the stick of Roman Hamrlik and behind Braden Holtby.

"We seem to play better when we're emotional, when we play with an edge," said Lucic.

The Capitals took a 1-0 on an Alex Semin power-play goal at 16:00 of the first — Zdeno Chara was in the box for roughing. Things got chippy at the end of the first, resulting in matching minors for Milan Lucic and Nicklas Backstrom.

Just 35 seconds into the second period, Rich Peverley fired a high shot on Holtby, who fanned on the save. His glove had been shaky in the first; it failed him in the second.

But his captain was there to bail him out just 13 seconds later.

Ovechkin tracked down a bouncing puck and, with Seidenberg stick checking him and the disc on edge, sent a Tim Wakefield worthy knuckler that fooled Thomas. It was Ovechkin's 26th career playoff goal in 40 career games.

[ Photos: Check out Monday's playoff highlights ]

The Bruins tied it again at 9:38, as a Greg Zanon shot was stopped by Holtby, who gave up a rebound and had no help in front. Daniel Paille had time to collect the puck and score on the backhand.

Brian Rolston gave the Bruins the lead just 1:02 into the third period, as the Capitals were unable to clear the puck in front of Holtby and the veteran Bruins forward chopped one home.

But at 14 minutes of the third, the Capitals finally responded: Brooks Laich, cutting in alone after a nifty Nicklas Backstrom pass, beat Thomas cleanly to send the Verizon Center in hysterics.

With 3:14 left, Backstrom was whistled for cross-checking penalty in the offensive zone on Brad Marchand. While on the power play, Milan Lucic was cross-checked in the back by Dennis Wideman on a whistle. Lucic and Matt Hendricks went face to face, with the Bruins forward giving him punch to the face, which led to a wild scene in which Alzner entered the fray as a third man in.

As a result, Lucic negated the power play and gave the Capitals a late one, but they couldn't convert.

For the Capitals, there are two concerns heading into Game 4.

[ Nick Cotsonika: NHL discipline czar needs to send stronger message ]

First, they couldn't take advantage of an average performance by Thomas (must be those Obama heads), and rookie goalie Braden Holtby showed he isn't impenetrable after a very strong two games in Boston: Giving up four goals on 29 shots, even if his teammates said after the game they didn't give him enough support.

"He did what he had to do to give us a chance to win," said defenseman John Carlson. "Everything matters in these games, specially against this team. They make you pay if you make a mistake."

Which brings us to the other concern: That the Bruins' physical play took over the offensive zone in the third period, and caused the Capitals to play undisciplined hockey in taking eight minor penalties and this match penalty for Nicklas Backstrom at the end of the game on Rick Peverley, after a Bruin went after Ovechkin:

Backstrom is automatically suspended until the League rules on it; will it lead him Backstrom being out of Game 4?

Said Capitals Coach Dale Hunter: "They tried to get some our skill players off their game but the guys battled back."

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