Tim Thomas had done very little work in goal over the previous 25 minutes and was feeling surprisingly fresh. Even more significant was the Washington Capitals' miserable record this season when the game extends past overtime. Thomas stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout, and Patrice Bergeron scored the lone goal in the extra session to lift the Bruins to a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.
After Bergeron beat Olie Kolzig, Thomas snuffed a shot by Matt Pettinger to secure the victory and drop the Capitals to 0-4 in shootouts.
Thomas stopped 33 shots before foiling Alexander Semin, Alex Ovechkin and Pettinger in the shootout. Thomas was winless in two shootouts this season, but he faced only seven shots in the third period and one in overtime and thus felt unusually spry in the net.
"I've gone into some shootouts when I faced 15 shots in the third period and then six in the overtime," he said. "I was fresh. It might have helped me."
It might not have mattered how Thomas felt, because the Capitals have missed all 10 of their shootout attempts this season.
"Yeah, we'll score. It's just a matter of time," coach Glen Hanlon said. "I have the utmost confidence in Semin, Ovechkin and Pettinger. It's unproductive to sit in misery here and think it's never going to go our way."
It didn't happen against Thomas, who was also outstanding in the net during the 65 minutes that both teams were on the ice.
"He gave us a chance to win," said Bergeron, whose winner deflected off Kolzig's stick.
In the second period, the Capitals peppered Thomas with 17 shots but only scored once.
"I thought Timmy Thomas had his best game," coach Dave Lewis said.
The Bruins got first-period goals from Phil Kessel and Brad Stuart in their second road win in seven games.
Dainius Zubrus scored his 12th goal and Pettinger had a short-handed tally for the Capitals, who trailed 2-0 in the game's 15th minute. Kolzig had 33 saves, and Ovechkin and Semin each had an assist.
Washington had won two straight and four of five.
"When you get to the shootout, it's a roll of the dice," defenceman Brian Pothier said.
When the Capitals are involved, the roll is snake-eyes. Even Ovechkin was rendered powerless, despite crossing up Thomas with an unexpected backhander.
"I watched video of him earlier today and he kept going to the forehand," Thomas said. "He could have messed me up, but I figured one of these times he was going to try something different."
Boston took only seven shots in the first period, but two found the back of the net. Kessel and Stuart both scored within seconds of leaving the penalty box to make it 2-0. Kessel converted a breakaway at 6:36, and Stuart connected with a wrist shot from inside the blue line.
Marc Savard assisted on both goals, extending his point streak to seven games. He has 15 assists in 15 games.
Pettinger brought the Capitals to 2-1 with 4 minutes left in the first period, and Zubrus tied it with a power-play goal at 12:19 of the second. Zubrus was alone in the right circle when Ovechkin found him with a pass across the slot.
Notes: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman spent the day with Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and other team officials, part of Bettman's tour around the league. ... The shots were 35-35. Washington has not outshot its opponent since Oct. 14, against Atlanta. ... Stuart's goal was his first since April 11.