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A day for finishing kicks; Seguin scores to set up Game Seven vs. Caps

Because Tyler Seguin and Tim Thomas returned to form, the Bruins are heading back to Boston for another game against the Washington Capitals.

Seguin scored at 3:17 of overtime, Thomas made 36 saves, and the Bruins beat Washington, 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 by Seguin to finally get the decisive goal and avoid elimination.

The series finale is Wednesday night in Boston. The first six games were all decided by one goal, three of them in overtime.

"It's been a dogfight from start to finish," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Both teams here are heading to Game Seven with the same kind of confidence. For us, it's time to take advantage of the home ice that we've fought hard all year to get. We've got to make it count."

Seguin led the Bruins during the regular season with 29 goals and 67 points but was scoreless in the playoffs until Sunday. Thomas, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, was generally outplayed by Capitals rookie Braden Holtby over the first five games of the series.

Not so in Game Six.

Thomas had 35 saves in regulation, and Seguin contributed an assist before beating Holtby to end the game.

"It was a coming-of-age goal there in overtime," Thomas said about Seguin, a 20-year-old with two years of NHL experience.

The pivotal play began when David Krejci intercepted a pass by Nicklas Backstrom and sent the puck to Milan Lucic, who passed ahead to Seguin.

Seguin veered slightly to his right to draw Holtby from the net, then lifted a shot past the rookie to win it.

"I saw the goalie challenging, so I just tried to make a quick move and got lucky it went in," Seguin said. "This series I've had a lot of chances and opportunities and I haven't been finishing them off. It's just really nice to get that feeling of finding the back of the net."

Julien said, "For him to jump on that and be patient enough to skate around the goaltender, it's great to see."

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 seventh-seeded Capitals, on the other hand, face the prospect of having to win a third game in Boston to advance to the second round.

"Game Seven is a grinding kind of game," coach Dale Hunter said. "We're used to playing it. Every game here has been a tough game. Both sides are, I imagine, a little bit banged up. But little bruises, they'll forget about them come Game Seven."

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 bad goal to Troy Brouwer in the closing minutes of Washington's 4-3 victory.