AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Tyler Seguin scored at 3:17 of overtime, Tim Thomas made 36 saves, and the Boston Bruins beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Sunday to tie the first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at three games apiece.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins never trailed, but needed a stolen pass and a deft bit of skating to finally get the decisive goal and avoid being eliminated by the seventh-seeded Capitals.
Game 7 is Wednesday night in Boston.
In overtime, David Krejci intercepted a pass by Nicklas Backstrom and sent the puck to Milan Lucic, who passed ahead to Seguin.
Seguin, who entered the game without a point in the series, veered slightly to his right to draw goaltender Braden Holtby from the net, then lifted a shot past the rookie to win it.
That kept alive Boston's bid to become the first team to win successive Stanley Cups since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.
The Bruins took a 3-2 lead at 11:51 of the third period on a goal by Andrew Ference, who put in the long rebound of a shot by Seguin. Ference thrust his fist into the air in delight in front of the Bruins' bench to celebrate after his first goal of the series.
But Washington wasn't done. Off a faceoff in the Boston zone, Alex Ovechkin controlled the puck with his left skate and promptly ripped a shot that skidded between Thomas' legs with 4:52 left in regulation.
It was not unlike Saturday's game, when Thomas gave up a lamentable goal to Troy Brouwer in the closing minutes of Washington's 4-3 victory.
Thomas had 35 saves in regulation Sunday, but it wasn't enough to prevent the third overtime game of the series. All six games have been decided by one goal.
Boston's Rich Peverley opened the scoring at 5:56 of the first period by deflecting a shot by Ference past Holtby. It was the first time in five games and only the second time in the series that the Bruins notched the game's initial goal.
The lead was short lived. After gaining possession of the puck on top of the left circle, Washington defenseman Mike Green twice drew his stick back before choosing the right moment to launch a slap shot that soared past Thomas' left shoulder and into the net at 9:47.
But the Bruins went up 2-1 7 minutes later on a power-play goal by David Krejci, who ended Boston's 1-for-16 struggle with the extra man. Krejci entered the center of the Washington zone, dropped a pass to incoming Lucic on the left side and then tipped in the return pass.
In the second period, however, the Capitals' penalty-killing efficiency came heavily into play. After Ovechkin received a 4-minute penalty for bloodying the nose of Zdeno Chara with a high stick, Washington limited the Bruins to a single shot on goal while short-handed and even managed a decent shot of its own.
Minutes later, Thomas sprawled to his left to snuff an attempt by Marcus Johansson, who was seeking to slide the puck into the corner of the goal mouth.
But the Capitals pulled even with less than a minute left in the period. Backstrom charged down the right side and waited until Thomas and Chara committed themselves before sending a backhand, cross-ice pass to Jason Chimera, who slammed the puck into the net before Thomas could move back across the crease.
Washington outshot Boston 15-5 in the second period.
NOTES: Bruins D Joe Corvo was scratched after being struck in the right knee by a puck Saturday .. This is the third time the teams have met in the postseason. Each has won eight games ... Washington's Alexander Semin was held without a goal for the first time in four games.
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