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NHL Playoffs: Game 2 | Capitals 2, Bruins 1 (OT)

Capitals get one back from Bruins

The Washington Capitals evened their first-round playoff series with the Bruins on Saturday.

John Tlumacki/globe staff

The Washington Capitals evened their first-round playoff series with the Bruins on Saturday.

BOSTON -- At 2:56 of double overtime, Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom winged a shot through Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference that beat Tim Thomas, giving the Capitals a 2-1 win in Game 2 of the teams’ first-round playoff series at TD Garden Saturday.

The series is tied at 1-1.

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“I just had time to yell ‘screen’ and then I think I picked it up about halfway to me, but it was one of those knuckle [shots],” Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said of the game-winning goal. “You can’t get a read on exactly where it’s going. It is what it was.” 

Tempers flared at the end of the second period. Game 3 is in Washington on Monday night.

John Tlumacki/globe staff

Tempers flared at the end of the second period. Game 3 is in Washington on Monday night.

The Capitals found their offensive legs midway through the first overtime, as Thomas had to make some of his better saves. None was better than the glove stop he made on Jay Beagle at 10:18 after the Capitals had trickled free down low.

David Krejci had the Bruins’ best overtime chance when he swerved around Karl Alzner and sliced through the slot. The Bruins eliminated a third-period deficit to force overtime for the second straight time in the series.

“I think obviously we can be better in our offensive game,” Bruins coach Claude Julian said. “It took us two periods to get us going to create our opportunities.  At this stage of the year you would like to see more net front traffic. We don’t have enough commitment in that area to win hockey games.”

Down, 1-0, the Bruins tied it at 12:13. Brian Rolston put a shot on goal that deflected off Jeff Schultz’s skate. As the puck dribbled toward the goal, Benoit Pouliot barreled through Washington’s defensive formation, and with a backhand swat, he put the puck into the net.

I think he [Braden Holtby] tried to pokecheck, too, at the same time and I took a whack at it and it ended up in the net,” Pouliot said. “So, like I said, sometimes just put the puck or whack at it – you never know what’s going to happen and it ended up pretty good.”

After 40 minutes of play, the Capitals held a 1-0 lead — their first advantage of the series. The Bruins won Game 1 in overtime, 1-0.

The Capitals scored the goal at 17:57 of the second. After an Alex Ovechkin shot skittered toward the Boston goal, Greg Zanon hit the deck, trying to block the shot. At the same time, Thomas hunched over to clap his glove over the puck.

But before Thomas or Zanon could freeze the puck, Troy Brouwer jammed his way into the scrum and batted a backhand shot. The puck got through Thomas to give the Capitals the lead.

Some Bruins players watched a replay of Nicklas Backstrom’s game-winning goal.

John Tlumacki/globe staff

Some Bruins players watched a replay of Nicklas Backstrom’s game-winning goal.

“Well when I figured out where it was, two things. First, pucks like that, normally you put the paddle of your stick behind it and cover it,” Thomas said. “But then I realized I couldn’t without jamming Zans [Greg Zanon] in the face. And then the other thing was, you don’t like to cover it with the stick underneath, because you can’t trap it all the way. So I waited just a half-a-second for his hand to clear. I didn’t even know that [Troy] Brouwer was over there. I didn’t even see the stick. I never saw that live, out of any of my vision. I never saw the stick come in and hit it.”

The Bruins had some good chances in the second period. At 3:20, after taking a pass from Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron winged a shot on goal from the slot. Bergeron’s shot got through Braden Holtby’s pads, but slid just wide of the net.

At 16:28, Bergeron had another scoring chance from the slot but didn’t get enough of his blade on the puck.

Ovechkin had a chance early in the second after a Seguin turnover put Johnny Boychuk on his heels. Before Ovechkin could rip off a shot, Boychuk dove and broke up the winger’s attempt.

In the first period, the teams limited each other’s scoring chances, giving Thomas and Holtby good looks at all the pucks that came their way.

Holtby’s toughest stop came late in the first. Rich Peverley found Krejci open in the slot. As Krejci cut from left to right across the slot, the center sent a puck across the grain on goal. Holtby, mirroring Krejci’s movement, darted back to his right to make a sharp save on the slippery center’s shot at 18:28.

Ovechkin, held to one shot in Game 1, was dynamic in the first period. He played more of a pack-it-in defensive style in Game 1, but in Game 2, Ovechkin was lurking more behind the defense.

On Ovechkin’s first shift, the left wing slipped behind Zdeno Chara to create a scoring chance. Chara was forced to take a holding penalty at 1:13.

On the ensuing power play, Thomas had to fight traffic to make a good save. With Brooks Laich parked in front, Mike Green hammered a slap shot from the point. Thomas looked around Laich and gloved Green’s shot at 1:56.

Thomas had to face a pair of Washington power plays in the first period. The Boston penalty kill smothered the power play and didn’t give the Capitals any other decent sniffs.

Washington double-shifted Ovechkin once in the first period. Ovechkin took one shift with third-liners Beagle and Matt Hendricks.

The Capitals made one lineup change. Coach Dale Hunter moved Marcus Johansson up to the second line to skate with Backstrom and Alexander Semin. Jason Chimera, a second-liner in Game 1, moved down to the third line with Beagle and Hendricks.

Krejci, who missed practice Friday after being hit on the back by a pane of glass at the end of Game 1, didn’t appear to have any issues.

Jordan Caron and Mike Mottau were Boston’s healthy scratches.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.
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