By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
Boston’s four-game homestand at the TD Garden is over after winning all four games and now head on the road to face Zdeno Chara and the Washington Capitals for the first time this season. The Bruins are coming off of two wins against the Philadelphia Flyers and two wins over the Pittsburgh Penguins including a 4-1 win over the Pens last time out.
Washington is coming into this game winners of their last two games – both over the New York Islanders. The Capitals are only one of four teams who are yet to have a regulation loss (Canadiens, Stars, and Panthers the others), giving them a 5-0-3 record for first in the MassMutual East Division and second in the league standings.
Arena: Capital One Arena – Washington, D.C., USA
Home: Washington Capitals (5-0-3)
Away: Boston Bruins (5-1-1)
Bruins’ Last Game: 4-1 win vs. PIT
Bruins’ Gameday Lineup:
David Pastrnak makes his long-awaited return to action after offseason surgery and Karson Kuhlman makes his season debut while forwards Jake DeBrusk (lower-body), Jack Studnicka (banged-up), and Ondrej Kase (upper-body) remain out. Defenceman Matt Grzelcyk (lower-body) will also miss tonight’s game, Connor Clifton to take his place alongside Brandon Carlo. Tuukka Rask to start in goal.
Five minutes into this game and it is clear it is going to be a close one. Capitals forward Richard Panik got a nice chance on Tuukka Rask that was easily stopped and then minutes later a weird bounce leads to Krejci having what appears to be an open net before Vanecek dives across to make a save – giving a rebound chance for Charlie McAvoy that was blocked by Nick Jensen. Game remains tied.
Bruins are looking great past the midway mark of the frame, outshooting the Capitals by a whopping 17-6 with a few minutes left and have been controlling the pace of play. Vitek Vanecek has been solid in between the pipes for Washington thus far, keeping it deadlocked at no score. Very few whistles, great pace in this one.
Even though the Bruins dominate the entire period, with less than two minutes to go in the period, Jeremy Lauzon tries to pinch and keep the puck in the zone, but faces Tom Wilson head on who bumps him off the puck. Backstrom then takes it, battles with Bergeron as he enters the zone and rips a cannon of a wrist shot past Tuukka Rask – 1-0 Capitals.
On the very next possession, Richard Panik gets his stick caught in Charlie Coyle’s skate and the Capitals head to the box. Bruins cannot capitalize late in the frame, but will begin the second period with a very limited time on the man-advantage. Bruins dominated the opening frame, but still trail Washington 1-0.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 19 WSH: 7
Score: 1-0 Capitals – Goals: Backstrom (5) Unassisted
Right away in the second period, the first power-play unit creates some golden opportunities to strike. David Pastrnak fakes a shot for a slap-pass to Brad Marchand who just misses a wide-open cage and then only seconds later, Pastrnak nearly feeds a Bergeron goal on another slap-pass and ended his shift getting stopped by a one-timer on his off-side. Great shift for Pastrnak.
Just over five minutes into the middle frame, Trevor van Riemsdyk takes a shot from near the boards that sneaks below a screened Tuukka Rask’s glove to give Washington a two-goal lead. Bruins couldn’t get in front of the puck to block it, but blocked Rask’s sightline – he had zero clue where van Riemsdyk’s shot was coming from. 2-0 Capitals.
Nine minutes or so in, David Krejci takes a “hooking” penalty on an offensive zone possession, sending Boston to the penalty-kill for the first time tonight. Off the faceoff in Boston’s zone, Tom Wilson rips a shot on net that beats a standing Rask. Richard Panik was screening Tuukka and the Bruins’ netminder had no idea where the shot was, Capitals take a commanding 3-0 lead.
Much closer period in terms of shots, but neither team with any brilliant scoring chances since Washington’s recent goal. With 3:17 remaining, Garnet Hathaway commits an interference penalty on Brandon Carlo and Boston will go to the power-play for the second time.
On a massive chance, David Krejci shoots towards the net that hits a couple bodies and beats Vanecek, Bruins cut into the lead and it’s 3-1. Nick Ritchie continues his strong net-front presence and likely got a piece before it crossed the goal line. Second period ends shortly afterwards.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 34 WSH: 17
Score: 3-1 Capitals – Goals: van Riemsdyk (1) Assists: Dillon (4), Backstrom (7); Panik (1) PPG Assists: Wilson (4), Ovechkin (5), Ritchie (4) PPG Assists: Krejci (6), Bergeron (4)
During the early minutes, it seemed the Capitals were going to take momentum in the final regulation period. Bruins struggled to get the puck out of the zone and their first breakout pass wasn’t looking good. Then, off a Washington icing call, Charlie McAvoy skates the puck deep in the Capitals’ zone, finding an open Brad Marchand who snipes it past Vanecek and it is a one-goal game again.
Only a few shifts later, Jakub Vrana gets his stick a bit too high on Jeremy Lauzon and will have to sit in the box for two minutes as punishment for high-sticking. Unfortunately for the B’s, they failed to generate any serious scoring threats and this game returns to 5-on-5 with over ten minutes left in regulation.
With just over five minutes left on the scoreclock, the Capitals get called with too-many-men on the ice and a crucial Bruins power-play comes as a result. Both Marchand and Pastrnak received great set-ups for one-timers, but both missed the net. Zero shots on goal, back to even-strength with less than four minutes to go.
As the minutes tick away, the Bruins keep battling in the offensive zone. Shots being thrown from everywhere, then with Rask pulled, Charlie McAvoy buries a loose puck to tie this game at three with less than a minute to go.
Right after the equalizing goal, Washington stormed back with a quick chance but Rask stands his ground and makes two huge saves. Regulation ends, overtime is needed.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 43 WSH: 22
Score: 3-3 – Goals: Marchand (5) Assists: McAvoy (6), Bergeron (5); McAvoy (1); Pastrnak (1), Bergeron (6)
That didn’t take long. Alex Ovechkin, less than thirty seconds into overtime, rips a blistering shot past Tuukka Rask to win the game in overtime. The goal is Ovechkin’s 24th career overtime-winner, the most in NHL history. Bruins never had possession in the 3-on-3 OT session.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 43 WSH: 23
Final Score: 4-3 Capitals
Max’s Three Stars:
1st Star: WSH G Vitek Vanecek – 40 Saves on 43 Shots, .930 SV%
2nd Star: WSH F Nicklas Backstrom – 1 Goal, 2 Assists, 64% Faceoffs
3rd Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 3 Assists, 63% Faceoffs
Boston will get a rematch against the Capitals on Monday, February 1st at 7pm EST in Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.