Capitals pull off incredible comeback to defeat Bruins in shootout

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchangeMarch 6, 2013


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Two months ago, Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr was looking for a contract.
On Tuesday night the 27-year-old right wing was being mobbed by his teammates after his goal 37 seconds into overtime capped a capped a four-goal comeback in a pulsating 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins at Verizon Center.
Fehr, who was signed by the Capitals on Jan. 13 after no other team offered him a contract, took a pass from Nicklas Backstrom, split defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Dougie Hamilton, and lifted a highlight reel shot over Tuukka Rask for the game-winner.
"We didn't give up at all today," Fehr said after the second three-point night of his career and his first since March 3, 2008, also against the Bruins. "I think it says a lot about our character. This team believes in ourselves a lot more than we did at the beginning of the season."
After starting the season 2-8-1, the Capitals have gone 7-3-0 to climb within five points of the eighth-place Rangers in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Bruins lost for the second straight game after a six-game win streak. Still, their 14-3-3 start is their best since starting the 1979-80 season with an identical record.
"Defensively, we need to be a lot better," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We were certainly not as good as we're capable of and that's an issue. We've got a lot of guys that have to be better for us."
Tuesday night's finish was reminiscent of the first-round playoff series between the two teams last spring, when four of the seven games, including the final one, were decided in overtime.
Wolksi sent the game into the extra period when he scored his first goal in 12 games with 6:05 remaining in regulation. Wolksi, who was in the Washington lineup only because Troy Brouwer fell ill before the game, slipped behind a Boston defenseman, took a lead pass from Fehr and whacked a backhander through Rask for his first goal since Feb. 1.
The Bruins had a chance to win in regulation when Alex Ovechkin took a hooking penalty on Brad Marchand, but the Caps blocked three shots on the penalty kill and nearly scored themselves when Ovechkin broke out of the box and was stopped by Rask on a netcrashing bull rush.
The Bruins raced out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Marchand, Zdeno Chara and Hamilton, but allowed the Caps back into the game when they surrendered second-period goals to Mike Ribeiro and Tomas Kundratek.
"We were up by three goals and we were asleep in the second," Rask said. "We gave up a couple of unnecessary goals, then in the third a softie on me."
Ribeiro got things started for the Capitals 5:46 into the period when he parked himself on the left side of Tuukka Rask. Ovechkin batted down a shot by rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy and found Ribeiro for his eighth goal of the season. It was also Oleksy's first NHL point in his first NHL game.
The Caps drew within 3-2 at the 11:32 mark, this time on Kundraek's first career NHL goal. Nicklas Backstrom won a faceoff back to Eric Fehr, who set up Kundratek's shot from the top of the right circle that eluded Rask.
"I definitely celebrated like it was a winning goal in the playoffs," Kundratek said. "It was my first one and I'll remember it for the rest of my life."
Capitals coach Adam Oates said he instructed his players to chip away at the Bruins' lead instead of trying to get it all back at once.
"It shows character," he said, "that they believe in it and that they can do it."
For the Bruins, Marchand got things started with a rare shorthanded penalty shot.
Marchand turned a John Carlson giveaway into a shorthanded breakaway, but when Alex Ovechkin slashed him from behind he was awarded a penalty shot.
Marchand responded by slipping a shot between the pads of goaltender Braden Holtby for his team-high 12th goal of the season at the 6:29 mark.
Chara made it 2-0 with 2:53 remaining in the opening period when he collected his own rebound, which landed at the feet of David Krejci, and fired a shot into the half-empty net.
When Ovechkin went to the box for interfering with Chris Kelly just 68 seconds later the Bruins extended their lead to 3-0 on a power-play blast from Hamilton from the top of the slot.
For the Bruins, it was all downhill after that.
NOTES: The Capitals placed defenseman Roman Hamrlik on waivers on Tuesday. The 39-year-old veteran leads all Czech-born players with 1,383 career games in the NHL but had been a healthy scratch in 16 of the Capitals' first 20 games. The move was necessitated when the Capitals recalled rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy from the AHL Hershey Bears. Oleksy made his NHL debut against the Bruins. ... Washington was without leading goal scorer Troy Brouwer, who fell ill before the game and was replaced on a second line by Wojtek Wolski. ... The Bruins entered the game with a 6-0-0 record against teams in the Southeast Division. ... Nathan Horton's assist on Dougie Hamilton's first-period goal was the 200th assist of his career. It came in his 568th game. ... Bruins coach Claude Julien entered the game three wins shy of matching Milt Schmidt on the Bruins' all-time list of coaching victories. ... The Bruins return to action Thursday night at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Capitals return to action Thursday night at home against the Florida Panthers.