Thursday, April 08, 2021

A NO-Point Night: Washington Capitals -- Game 40: Bruins 4 - Capitals 2

With a five-game road trip behind them and a two-game road trip ahead, the Caps hosted the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena in Washington on Thursday night.  The Caps were coming off a tough 1-0 loss to the New York Islanders, while the Bruins were looking to win a second consecutive game after a 4-2 win in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.  The Caps fell into a 3-0 hole in the first 24 minutes, and it was too much to overcome as Boston skated to a 4-2 win.

First Period

It took Boston 33 seconds to take the lead.  Jeremy Lauzon’s shot from the left point, the first shot of the game, was muffled by goalie Ilya Samsonov, but he failed to find the puck beneath him, and the puck had just enough momentum to crawl over the goal line to put the Bruins up, 1-0.

Washington put themselves deeper in a hole when Tom Wilson was penalized for tripping at the 4:04 mark.  Washington killed the penalty, and they had a chance of their own to tie the game when Garnet Hathaway had a breakaway mid-way through the period, but his attempt was turned aside by goalie Jeremy Swayman.

Boston had its second power play of the game at the 6:33 mark when Brenden Dillon was sent off for cross-checking.  The Bruins did not convert the opportunity, but they doubled their lead, nevertheless, when a Justin Schultz tried to wrap the puck around the back of the Caps’ net, but the biscuit hit a stanchion behind the Caps net, ricocheted to the front of the net to Samsonov’s left, and was stuffed in by Anton Blidh at the 16:02 mark.

Washington had a chance to halve the lead when Charlie Coyle was sent to the penalty box for a hooking call at 16:31 of the period.  The Caps had one shot on goal but no goal to show for it. Things got interesting shortly thereafter when Nick Ritchie for the B’s and Hathaway for the Caps dropped the gloves at the 19:01 mark.  The two went off on coincidental majors, but Ritchie was docked an additional two minutes for slashing.  The Caps did not convert on the first half of the man advantage but would have 1:01 of power play time to work with in the second period, the teams going off after 20 minutes with Boston ahead, 2-0.

-- Boston overwhelmed the Caps in shots on goal, 17-9, and out-attempted them, 25-14.

-- John Carlson was the only Capital with two shots on goal.

-- Washingon had no missed shots in the period…small comfort.

-- Carl Hagelin led the club with two blocked shots.

Second Period

Washington did not convert on the power play that carried over into the second period and remained in an 0-2 deficit to the visitors.  The Caps did get another power play, though, when Jakub Zboril went to the box for tripping at 2:44 of the period.  It didn’t work out well for the Caps, who allowed a shorthanded goal to Brad Marchand at 4:09 of the period, Marchand toe-dragging the puck around a sliding Justin Schultz and beating Samsonov on a backhand to make it 3-0, Bruins.

Washington got the benefit of a 5-on-3 power play when Blidh was sent off for roughing and slashing at the 8:39 mark, and then Jakub Zboril was sent off for interference at 10:04.  Alex Ovechkin made short work of the first 5-on-3 power play when T.J. Oshie beat Patrice Bergeron on a faceoff back to John Carlson, who fed Ovechkin in his office for a one-timer that beat Swayman cleanly at 10:08 of the period.  Just 19 seconds later, T.J. Oshie got the Caps within one, converting the second potion of the 5-on-3 power play.  Oshie fed John Carlson the puck from the right wing circle and then skated through the middle to the left side, where he took a feed from Carlson, one-timing it past Swayman at 10:27 to make it a 3-2 game.

The Caps might have had a second double minor man advantage when Oshie was clipped in the nose by Matt Grzelcyk and bled from a cut, but there would be no penalty called.  Carl Hagelin was sent off for boarding at 14:45, but the Bruins could not convert to expand their lead.  The 3-2 Bruins lead was how the teams went off after two periods.

-- Washington outshot the Bruins, 13-6, in the period and out-attempted them, 21-13.

-- Tom Wilson had five shots on goal and seven shot attempts through two periods to lead the team.

-- Daniel Carr and Dmitry Orlov had four credited hits to lead the Caps through 40 minutes.

Third Period

The Caps and Bruins took coincidental penalties 6:43 into the period, Marchand for Boston and Hathaway for the Caps for unsportsmanlike conduct, a trade the Caps would make 11 times out of ten.  Washington went a man short late in the period when Daniel Carr was ticketed for hooking at 15:20 of the period.  Boston stuck a dagger in the Caps comeback hopes when Craig Smith converted the power play chance at the 16:55 mark.

The Caps emptied their net, called a late time out, and got a power play in the dying moments, but it was not enough, and the Caps fell, 4-2.

Other stuff…

-- Alex Ovechkin’s second period goal was his 20th of the season. He became the fourth player in league history to record 20 or more goals in each of his first 16 seasons (Marcel Dionne, Jaromir Jagr, Mats Sundin).

-- John Carlson had two assists, moving him to within three helpers of 400 as a Capital.  When he reaches that mark, he will be the fourth player in team history to do so (Nicklas Backstrom, Ovechkin, Michal Pivonka).

-- Ovechkin’s second period goal – a power play goal – gave him 266 power play goals for his career, breaking a tie with Brett Hull for second place all-time.  Only Dave Andrewchuk remains ahead of him (274).

-- Since shutting out New Jersey on March 26th, Ilya Samsonov has allowed four, six, four, and four goals in his last four games.

-- The Caps outshot the Bruins, 33-32, and out-attempted them, 58-56.

-- Washington won only 25 of 60 faceoffs (41.7 percent).  T.J. Oshie was the only Cap over 50 percent (5-for-9/55.6 percent).

-- Jakub Vrana… one shot on goal, one missed shot in 15:15 of ice time.  Work-in-progress might be the most charitable spin on his game at the moment.

-- Oshie was 1-1-2, had four of six shot attempts blocked, and finished minus-3.  Odd night.

-- Carl Hagelin was the only Caps skater without a shot attempt.

-- Tom Wilson led the Caps with five shots on goal; he and John Carlson had eight shot attempts.

In the end…

The Caps look like a team running on fumes.  When they make mistakes, they are disastrous blunders, they suddenly cannot score at 5-on-5, and they are giving their goalies little help.  Are problems fixable?  We’ll see.