CAP­I­TALS

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports -

de­fense­man Den­nis Wide­man said. “We knew that we were get­ting down to the nitty gritty here, and we had to get some wins, and ob­vi­ously this is one of the tough­est build­ings to come into and get two points. This was a huge win for us.”

The fi­nal score was 4-3, thanks to a late Bos­ton goal that made things in­ter­est­ing. The Bru­ins had the Gar­den rock­ing when they erased a two-goal deficit, too.

But for the most part this was the Cap­i­tals’ chance to show the NHL and them­selves that they can do what it takes to win on the road.

“That’s a gutsy ef­fort for us. We’re very happy about that,” de­fense­man Karl Alzner said. “We’re def­i­nitely feel­ing good about that win. It doesn’t mat­ter how that hap­pens at the end, you’ve just got to make sure you get the win. That’s the old say­ing — it doesn’t mat­ter if you win by an inch or a mile, right? We’re just happy that we got the two points.”

Espe­cially at this time of year when two points won or lost can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween a fifth straight South­east Divi­sion ti­tle and per­haps miss­ing the play­offs. Strug­gles by the Florida Pan­thers cou­pled with a hot run by Wash­ing­ton could even ease the ten­sions down the stretch.

But it starts with one game, and that might have come Satur­day. First-pe­riod goals by for­wards Alexan­der Semin and Matt Hen­dricks 25 sec­onds apart put the Bru­ins in chase mode. For­wards Jay Bea­gle and Brooks Laich later cap­i­tal­ized on their chances to si­lence a team that had bat­tled back to forge a 2-2 tie.

To­mas Vok­oun’s goal­tend­ing was key, as he robbed Tyler Seguin a cou­ple of times and even non­cha­lantly tossed the puck aside af­ter a big stop. But Vok­oun praised his team­mates for get­ting dirty goals on the other end.

“Five-on-five, you’ve got to bang sec­ond or third re­bounds in or [get a] de­flec­tion or some­thing like that. Teams are fight­ing for po­si­tion. Ev­ery­body’s fight­ing for some­thing,” he said. “It’s a late stretch in the sea­son. Ev­ery­body’s play­ing their sys­tem well. and it’s tough to score.”

But the Caps also have proved it’s tough for them to win on the road. Lead­ing at the sec­ond in­ter­mis­sion goes a long way, as they’re 20-0-0 with that ad­van­tage this sea­son.

Hen­dricks said that’s about fo­cus­ing on de­fen­sive style and not wor­ry­ing about the risk-re­ward el­e­ment of the game. Play it safe, pick up a vic­tory that could pro­vide a spark mov­ing for­ward.

“Any­time you’re on the road play­ing in a tough build­ing, such as espe­cially this one against the Stan­ley Cup cham­pi­ons of this year, it’s got to build our con­fi­dence a bit,” Hen­dricks said.

With five straight road games at the New York Is­lan­ders, Win­nipeg, Chicago, Detroit and Philadel­phia start­ing Tues­day on Long Is­land, this vic­tory in Bos­ton could not have come at a bet­ter time.

The Cap­i­tals play eight of their fi­nal 13 games on the road, where they’re now 12-18-3.

“It’s a very big win for our team,” Laich said. “This time of year we’re not wor­ried what our road record is, we’re not wor­ried about the over­all record, we’re just fo­cus­ing on a sin­gle game.”

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