WASHINGTON – Tim Thomas' return to the nation's capital was less political and more successful, with the goaltender making 35 saves Sunday in the Boston Bruins' 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals.
Playing about 10 blocks from the White House — a place he famously avoided because of his political views two weeks ago when the reigning Stanley Cup champions were honored by President Barack Obama — Thomas shut out the Capitals until late in the third period as the Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak.
Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand scored first-period goals, and Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley tallied in the third for the Bruins, who built a 3-0 lead and rediscovered some offensive pop after scoring only once during their two-game skid.
Marcus Johansson scored the lone goal for the Capitals, who have lost three of four and haven't scored a power-play goal in seven games. Tomas Vokoun, getting the call again a day after shutting out the Montreal Canadiens, had 26 saves for Washington.
Alex Ovechkin, in his second game since returning from a three-game suspension for his hit on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek, was more active after shaking off the rust against the Canadiens and finished with seven shots on goal, but all were handled by Thomas.
Thomas' White House no-show, accompanied by his Facebook post about a federal government that he said was "out of control," overshadowed his teammates' day of celebration with the president on Jan. 23. He didn't play the next day, when the Bruins lost 5-3 to the Capitals.
But he was in fine form for a Super Bowl Sunday matinee.
Thomas reacted quickly, sliding to his left, to stop Ovechkin's drive when the forward pounced on a rebound late in the first period. He also made a point-blank stick save on Joel Ward in traffic and used his right pad to thwart Alexander Semin on a breakaway.
Late in the second period, Thomas raised his glove quickly to snatch Dennis Wideman's drive on a Capitals power play.
The Bruins scored more in the first period than in their previous two games combined, with both goal-scorers getting their 19th of the season. The first came after Lucic got behind Wideman to take a lead pass from Peverley on a 2-on-2 break, and the second when Patrice Bergeron worked hard to win the puck behind the Washington net to slide it over to Marchand on the doorstep.
Seguin's redirect goal — his 20th of the season — provided some insurance before the Capitals finally got one past Thomas. Peverley scored an empty-netter in the final minute.
NOTES: Maybe the third period should have been optional: The Bruins improved to 22-0-0 when leading after two; the Capitals are 16-0-0. ... Capitals C Brooks Laich left the game and headed straight to the locker room with an apparent left leg injury after being hit into the boards by Dennis Seidenberg with 8 minutes remaining in the second period. ... Washington D Dmitry Orlov left with 11:54 to go in the third after he was struck in the face by the puck on a deflected shot from Shawn Thornton.
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP