BOSTON — The Washington Capitals know how good the Boston Bruins are at coming from behind. They’re determined to change that — soon.
Troy Brouwer scored on a power play with 1:27 left, giving the Capitals a 4-3 victory Saturday and a chance to eliminate the defending champions in Game 6 in Washington on Sunday.
The Bruins rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 before Brouwer beat Tim Thomas over the glove with a wrist shot from the right circle.
“Everyone knows the fourth win is the hardest,” Capitals goalie Braden Holtby said, “but we’re not really focusing on whether the Bruins can come back. … We have a game to win and we have a certain way we want to do it and that’s to stick to our systems.”
Thomas, last year’s post-season MVP and Vezina Trophy winner, knows the Bruins can’t rely on past comebacks to start another one.
“It’s good to know that we’ve been in tough spots before and responded well,” he said. “Having said that, we’ve got to do that.”
Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner figures the best way to stop that is to score early.
“We’ve got to come out hard, try to put a little bit of doubt in their minds,” he said.
Johnny Boychuk tied it at 3 with 11:13 left on a power play, putting a 50-footer from the left into the far side of the net.
“You don’t have any time to think about what you could have done differently for four days or three days,” Boychuk said. “You just have to worry about what you can do tomorrow. That’s what I think our whole focus is right now.”
There was a good chance the game would go to overtime for the third time in the series. Then Benoit Pouliot was called for slashing Nicklas Backstrom.
“It was a tough call at 2:50 (left) in the game,” Pouliot said. “It’s a grind out there and sometimes you get the call, sometimes you don’t.”
Brouwer said he saw a Bruins defenceman turn toward the middle of the ice, giving him a lane in which to shoot for his second goal of the series.
“We were getting buzzed a little bit and I think they had a little bit of momentum off their power play goal,” Brouwer said.
“So, for us to get a power play late, create a little bit of offence and ultimately get a goal, it’s good.”
Washington took a 2-0 lead in the second period on goals by Alexander Semin at 11:16 and Jay Beagle at 14:27. That seemed to be a sizeable advantage in a series that featured tight defence with each team scoring only seven goals in the first four games.
About 15 seconds before Semin’s goal, Bruins defenceman Joe Corvo blocked a shot and fell to the ice. He struggled to his feet and didn’t regain his normal stride before Semin scored. Bruins coach Claude Julien said play should have been stopped. He also was upset when Zdeno Chara was dazed after taking an elbow to the head without a penalty being called.
“On the winning goal, it’s a very weak (penalty) call in my mind,” he said, “and it ended up costing us the winning goal.”
The Bruins rallied with two goals in 28 seconds late in the period to tie at 2. Dennis Seidenberg scored with 2:39 left on a one-timer from the right circle that got past Holtby. And Brad Marchand tied with 2:11 to go when he poked the rebound through Holtby’s legs after a shot from the right point by Boychuk.