Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Boston Bruins lost to the Washington Capitals in a National Hockey League contest.
This game had a different feel to it as it looked like the Bruins were in control from the puck drop. They outshot the Capitals by a 41-22 margin and had three more power play opportunities than the Capitals. Yet they couldn’t score when it mattered most late in the third period.
The game-winning goal in this one came off a Nicklas Backstrom wrist shot from just above the left faceoff circle. It was a goal that Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak would like to have back as there was no traffic in front of the net.
It was interesting to see Halak get the start in net over Tuukka Rask. Rask has been solid since his performance in the Winter Classic. It seemed as though he would get the starting nod in a game against the defending Stanley Cup champions. He didn’t and the Rask vs. Halak saga continues.
The Capitals jumped out to an early lead in this one. Jakub Vrana took a pass from T.J. Oshie and scored on a breakaway that began at the blue line. Vrana beat Halak on the blocker side to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead just six and a half minutes into the game.
The Bruins would respond, however, late in the second period. Ryan Donato took a feed from Torey Krug and fired it past the Capitals netminder Braden Holtby. It was one of only two goals Holtby would give up on the night as he continued his dominance against the Bruins.
The game remained 1-1 for only 39 seconds before Alex Ovechkin did his thing. He rocketed a shot past Halak from just inside the left faceoff dot to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead. It was Ovechkin’s league-leading 31st goal of the season.
The Bruins would respond once more on a David Krejci power-play goal. Off assists from Danton Heinen and David Backes, Krejci beat Holtby with a glove-side slapshot. The goal tied the game at two before Backstrom scored the game winner.
Ovechkin would add an empty net goal at the end to seal the Capitals FOURTEENTH straight victory over the Bruins. Once again, the Bruins were shut down by Holtby who made a total of 39 saves. In the Bruins’ two games against the Capitals this year, they have now been outscored 11-2 with Holtby making 64 saves on 66 total shots. The loss also marked the end of a five-game winning streak for the Bruins.
The Bruins will head to Toronto on Saturday to take on the division rival Maple Leafs in a game that will have playoff implications on the line. The silver lining for the Bruins is that defenseman Charlie McAvoy is slated for a return against the high powered Maple Leafs offense.