Bruins Ice Capitals Again, 4-1 : NHL playoffs: Boston takes 3-0 lead in Stanley Cup semifinals.
The Boston Bruins came looking not for a split on the road, but a sweep.
The Bruins pushed the punchless Washington Capitals to the brink of playoff elimination Monday night with a 4-1 victory that gave Boston a 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup semifinals.
Game 4 is Wednesday at the Capital Centre.
“This was a real big game,” Boston’s Dave Christian said. “It’s much easier being up, 3-0, than 2-1. We have all the momentum now.”
Craig Janney, Randy Burridge and Cam Neely each had a goal and an assist and Andy Moog turned aside 25 shots to put Boston within reach of its first playoff sweep since 1979.
Once again, it was Boston’s defense that made the difference. In a streak that began in the opening game of the series, the Bruins held Washington without a goal for 117 minutes before John Druce scored his playoff-best 14th goal at 15:23 of the second period.
“We have always talked about being aggressive defensively, just staying on your checks and not giving them anything,” Burridge said.
“If you give a good player time, he’ll make the play. If you don’t give a player any time, he’s not going to make as great a play. We didn’t give them any time to make any plays.”
Moog, 11-3 in the playoffs, kept his postseason goals-against average under 2.00. Washington, which has been without injured scoring leader Dino Ciccarelli, has been held scoreless in six of the last seven periods.
“Our defense is really working hard at being there, either at getting the puck or taking the man,” Moog said. “I think we worked hard at discipline for 80 games, so it’s not like it’s something we had to turn on for the playoffs.”
After Druce’s goal tied the score, Janney quickly retaliated by taking a pass from Neely in the slot and blasting a slap shot over the right shoulder of Capital goalie Don Beaupre at 18:08.
Burridge provided the Bruins with an insurance goal midway through the final period on assists from Janney and Ray Bourque, and Neely added an empty-net score with 21 seconds left.
“It’s been done a couple of times, but it’s a very difficult situation for us,” Washington Coach Terry Murray said. “I thought at certain times we had some real good opportunities, but the power play didn’t work for us.”
Washington was one for six in extra-man situations.
For the third consecutive game, the Bruins scored first. With Washington’s Nick Kypreos in the penalty box, Christian took a backhand centering pass from Burridge in front of the net and put a low shot between Beaupre’s pads at 6:53 of the opening period.