Sunday, April 18, 2021

A NO-Point Afternoon: Washington Capitals -- Game 46: Bruins 6 - Capitals 3

The Washington Capitals wrapped up their weekend slate of back-to-back games with a visit to TD Garden to take on the Boston Bruins in a matinee contest.  The Caps were coming off a 6-3 win in Philadelphia against the Flyers on Saturday afternoon, while the Bruins had a day of rest after sweeping the New York Islanders in back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday.  The Bruins were the better team, beginning to end, and exacted a measure of revenge for the 8-1 beating they took in the last meeting between these teams with a 6-3 win.

First Period

Boston got an early power play when Dmitry Orlov went to the box for hooking 35 seconds into the period.  Boston did not convert on either of their two shots.  Washington got a chance later in the period when Connor Clifton was sent off on a double-minor for high-sticking at the 8:53 mark.  It would be the Bruins who took advantage, though, when Brad Marchand hounded John Carlson trying to retrieve the puck behind his own net.  Separating Carlson from the puck, the biscuit found its way to Patrice Bergeron all alone in front.  Cutting across the low slot, he lifted a shot past goalie Vitek Vanecek’s right pad, and it was 1-0, Bruins, 12:02 into the period.

Boston doubled their lead in the 14th minute when Clifton slid a pass from the goal line to Vanecek’s left through the crease to David Krejci for a tap in from the far post at the 13:56 mark.

Washington got on the board in the last ten seconds when T. J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom abused the Boston defense.  Oshie started it by foiling a weak poke check try at the Caps’ blue line by Mike Reilly and getting the puck to Nicklas Backstrom skating through the middle in the neutral zone. Backstrom undressed Charlie McAvoy just inside the Boston blue line, cutting inside the defenseman to get a clear line to the net.  His shot was foiled by goalie Tuukka Rask, who got a glove on the shot, but he could not squeeze it tight enough to keep it from popping out where Oshie got inside position on Reilly to chip it over Rask with jut 9.9 seconds into the period, the Bruins heading to the intermission with a 2-1 lead.

-- Washington outshot Boston, 14-10, and out-attempted the Bruins, 21-15.

-- Twelve Caps were credited with hits in the period, led by Nic Dowd with three.

-- The Caps were dominated by the Bruins in the faceoff circle, losing 13 of 18 draws (27.8 percent wins).

Second Period

The teams went 4-on-4 early in the period when Garnet Hathaway and Curtis Lazar started the period in the penalty box for coincidental roughing calls that ended the first period.  The Caps got their second four-minute power play of the game, courtesy once more by Clifton, When he high-sticked Conor Sheary at the 2:53 mark.

Oshie made the chance count.  Running the triangle play, Nicklas Backstrom skated through the right wing circle to get a passing lane to Evgeny Kuznetsov at the goal line.  Kuznetsov one-timed Backstrom’s pass to Oshie, who one-timed the pass up and over Rask’s left shoulder at the 3:48 mark to tie the game.

The tie lasted less than a minute, the Caps converting the back half of the double minor to Boston when Dmitry Orlov fed Anthony Mantha at the top of the right wing circle.  Mantha took one step up and wristed a shot past Rask at the 4:54 mark.

The Caps’ lead lasted less than two minutes, the Bruins benefitting from confusion in front.  David Pastrnak looked as if he was going to get a shot off from the low slot, and Vanacek looked to think the same way, preparing to defend a shot that never came.  It was Marchand who ended up with the puck, and he curled to his right and deposited it in the open side of the cage to make it 3-3 6:33 into the period.

Boston scored late in the period.  Shortly after a penalty to Garnet Hathaway for holding expired, Craig Smith held the puck at the left wing wall before spying an open David Krejci on the right side.  Taking Smith’s pass, he held the puck until a sliding Dmitry Orlov cleared the ice in front of him, then fired a shot past Vanecek on the short side to make it 4-3, Bruins, at the 16:02 mark.

Patrice Bergeron put the Bruins up, 5-3, when he came in late as the third man trailing a 2-on-2 rush, getting a pass from Pastrnak and fought off a late backcheck from Kuznetsov to beat Vanecek past his blocker at the 17:45 mark.

Washington got a late power play when Mike Reilly was penalized for hooking at 19:47, but the Caps did not convert, leaving 1:47 oof power play time carrying over into the final period.

-- The Caps outshot the Bruins, 11-10 in the period, and out-attempted them  17-13.

-- Trevor van Riemsdyk was the only Capital with more than one blocked shot through 40 minutes (two).

-- John Carlson led the Caps in ice time through two periods (18:03).

Third Period

The Caps did not convert on the carryover power play, and Boston maintained its two-goal lead.  They got another chance with the man advantage when Jarred Tinordi was called for roughing at the 5:52 mark, but the Caps failed to convert this opportunity as well.

Tinordi was on the other end of a penalty when he was sent flying into the boards by Garnet Hathaway, leaving him bleeding from the nose and mouth.  There was no penalty called in real time, but after video review Hathaway was relieved of any further participation, earning a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct at the 9:21 mark.  Boston did not score, but the damage might have been done with five minutes taken off the clock that the Caps might have used to get back into the game.

Boston put the Caps out of their misery when David Pastrnak dove and poked the puck out of the Bruin’s zone, and Brad Marchand picked it up and skated to the Caps’ empty net.  He looked for Patrice Bergeron to get him the hat trick, but Bergeron was covered, and Marchand finished the play into the empty net at 18:16, giving the Bruins a 6-3 lead and ending the scoring for the afternoon.

Other stuff…

-- This was the fourth time in seven games in this series in which the winning team scored five or more goals, the teams splitting the four decisions.

-- This was only the second time since October 2002 that the Caps allowed six or more goals to the Bruins (they allowed seven in a loss to the Bruins on December 23, 2019).

-- The Caps outshot the Bruins, 33-28, and out-attempted them, 54-45.

-- Alex Ovechkin led the team with five shots on goal and nine and shot attempts.

-- Garnet Hathaway, Justin Schultz (who played only 2:45 on four shifts before leaving with an injury), and Trevor van Riemsdyk did not record a shot attempt. 

-- John Carlson was minus-5, and Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov were minus-4 for the game.

-- T.J. Oshie recorded his 25th multi-goal game as a Capital and 32nd of his career.

-- Vitek Vanecek allowed five goals, matching a season high (January 19th against Pittsburgh) and the most he allowed in regulation time this season.

-- Van Riemsdyk and Nick Jensen led the team with three blocked shots apiece.

-- Nicklas Backstrom had a pair of assists, his 257th career multi-point game.

In the end…

What goes ‘round, comes ‘round.  The Caps played a better version of the Bruins than what they faced in their 8-1 win in the last meeting between these teams.  And the Caps did not help themselves with the lapses in discipline, both inside the rules (their defense) and outside them.  They get a few days off before starting a critical three-game set against the New York Islanders.  They’ll need them.


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