BOSTON - -The Washington Capitals made history Tuesday night, and they had Jos? Theodore to thank for it.
The veteran goaltender kept his teammates in the game through the first 40 minutes, stopping 28 of the first 29 shots he faced. Then, as if on cue, the league's best offense showed up at TD Garden, and Brooks Laich and Boyd Gordon scored 2 minutes, 47 seconds apart early in the third period to beat the Boston Bruins, 4-1, and set a franchise record for consecutive victories with their 11th.
"We didn't play really well, but we found a way to win, because they believed we could win," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "When you're on a winning streak, you find ways, good things happen. When you're losing, you hit crossbars and the other goalie makes incredible like saves like Theo did tonight."
Theodore, meantime, set a personal record with his eighth straight win. He finished with 41 saves, including two highlight stops on Blake Wheeler. On the first, Theodore denied the big Bruins wing with a stacked pad stop. On the second, the Capitals goalie dived back and swept the puck off the goal line.
"Not bad," Boudreau said of Theodore. "He was in a complete zone today, and I hope he stays there."
Theodore added: "It's fun to be part of franchise history. Getting that 11th win, and beating the old record, it's great. ... It started in Florida when we were down 4-1 and came back. That was big turning point for the team and myself. It was good for my confidence. From there, I've played every game and I've felt good."
Achieving the milestone, though, was anything but a sure thing after the first two periods. For the third straight game, the penalty-prone Capitals struggled early, and as a result, they found themselves tied at 1 with a Boston team that was desperate for a win after dropping its previous seven contests.
"We haven't played as well as we wanted," said defenseman Tom Poti, who set up two goals. "But we seem to have picked up at the right moment, and tonight was no different. We came out to play in the third and that ultimately got us the win."
The Capitals quickly seized control in the third period on Laich's fourth goal in six games. The pivotal play began with Alexander Semin's picking off an errant reverse pass by Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick. Having been whistled for three minor penalties in the first two periods, Semin made up for his earlier sins by dishing the puck to Laich, who beat an unsuspecting Tim Thomas (22 saves) between the pads.
Less than three minutes later, fourth-line forward Boyd Gordon redirected a pass from Poti past Thomas to make it 3-1. Poti finished with a team-best plus-minus rating of plus 4.
Alex Ovechkin added an empty-net goal for the final score.