Friday, December 15, 2017

A TWO-Point Night: Washington Capitals -- Game 33: Capitals 5 - Bruins 3

The Washington Capitals extended their domination of the Boston Bruins to an eleventh straight game on Thursday night when they defeated the Bruins, 5-3, at TD Garden in Boston.  The 11 straight wins against the Bruins is one short of the club's longest winning streak against any single team (12 straight wins against the Tampa Bay Lightning from December 15, 2007 through December 7, 2009).  The longest unbeaten streak the Caps have against any single team in franchise history is 22 games against the New York Islanders (19 wins and three ties) from April 12, 1997 through March 30, 2002.

The teams went scoreless for the first 17 minutes, but the Caps broke through late in the first period when Jakub Vrana split the defense, skated in on goalie Anton Khudobin, and potted his 10th goal of the season at the 17:34 mark.

The teams exchanged power play goals to open the second period, the Bruins tying the score on a man advantage goal by Patrice Bergeron in the fifth minute of the period and the Caps taking the lead back on a power play eight minutes later when Nicklas Backstrom redirected an Evgeny Kuznetsov centering feed from the top of the crease.

Then it became the Alex Chiasson Show in what would be a wild third period. Chiasson opened the scoring in the frame at the 7:52 mark when he dug out a rebound from under Khudobin’s pads and stuffed it under him to give the Caps a 3-1 lead. Four minutes later, while killing a penalty, Chiasson picked up a loose puck at his own blue line and took off on a breakaway. He outraced Torey Krug the length of the ice and flipped a backhand over Khudobin’s right pad to make it 4-1, 11:31 into the period.

David Krejci cut the lead to two goals at the 16:20 mark, but Alex Ovechkin put it away two minutes later on an odd empty netter. From the right wing wall in his own end he tried to lead Tom Wilson with a cross ice pass. The puck was far out in front of Wilson though, caroming off the left wing side boards. The carom was perfect, though, as the puck slid the rest of the way and settled into the back of the net at the 18:31 mark.

Bergeron scored a window dressing goal for the Bruins with 27 seconds left, but it was far from enough as the Caps skated off with the 5-3 win.

Other stuff…

-- The Caps are now a perfect 20-0-0 against Boston in games that Nicklas Backstrom recorded a point.

-- Alex Chiasson had his first two-goal game since he recorded a pair against the Calgary Flames as a member of the Dallas Stars in a 5-1 win on October 24, 2013.

-- Alex Ovechkin’s 22nd goal of the season tied Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov for the league lead.

-- Matt NIskanen finished plus-3. He is plus-13 in his last ten games and is now tied for ninth in the league in that statistic (plus-14). With two assists, he had his first multi-point game of the season.

-- Four Caps did not record a shot attempt – Brett Connolly, Chandler Stephenson, Madison Bowey, and Devante Smith-Pelly.

-- Dmitry Orlov led the team in credited hits with five.

-- The Caps were schooled on faceoffs, Lars Eller the only player taking more than one draw finishing over 50 percent (7-for-13/53.8 percent).

-- Washington allowed the Bruins five power plays. It is the first time this season in ten games that they allowed an opponent five or more power plays and won in regulation (they have two extra time wins).

-- Boston dominated the shot attempts, finishing the game with a 74-55 edge.

-- Braden Holtby improved his career record against Boston to 13-2-0, 1.89, .942, with three shutouts.

In the end…

The Caps are 10-3-0 in their last 13 games with this win, and for the ninth time in that run posted a multi-goal win.  It has brought the Caps close enough to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the top of the Metropolitan Division to know what flavor chewing gum they are (that’s a “Hoosiers” reference…look it up).  The win over the Bruins sets up the Caps for a final home game before heading out on a four-game holiday road trip to the southwest and to Manhattan.  By the time the Caps return from that trip to host these same Boston Bruins, the standings in the Metro might look even better.

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