PHOTO CREDITS: (Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

A week after a one-sided Washington Capitals beatdown that later resulted in one of the biggest Trade Deadline deals this year – the Boston Bruins are back at again against the Capitals in Boston. The B’s are coming off of two back-to-back wins over the New York Islanders in impressive fashion and are looking to keep the momentum going as the MassMutual East Division stays tight. With the Rangers hot on Boston’s tail, the Bruins need two points today.

Since beating the Bruins 8-1 last Sunday, the Capitals have won two games this week – both over the Philadelphia Flyers, but did fall short to the Buffalo Sabres – who were officially eliminated from playoff contention last night. At the start of the game, Washington has a three-point lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins for first in the MassMutual East Division while the Penguins have a game in hand.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Home: Boston Bruins (24-12-6, 4th in MassMutual East Division)

Away: Washington Capitals (29-12-4, 1st in MassMutual East Division)

Bruins’ Last Game: 3-0 win vs NYI

Bruins’ Gameday Lineup:

Bruins defenceman Jakub Zboril (illness not believed to be COVID-19 related) is out, Jarred Tinordi is in. Tuukka Rask gets the start in goal.

First Period:

Boston’s top line starts this game with offensive pressure and keeping the puck deep in Washington’s zone. In the process, Dmitry Orlov gets his stick caught around Brad Marchand, resulting in a hooking penalty and Boston goes to the power-play early. Lars Eller gets a few chances while shorthanded early on, but Rask makes the saves. Bruins looked good on the man-advantage with some solid puck movement and shots that created rebounds but the Capitals make the kill, back to even-strength.

Just about nine minutes into the game, all four Bruins lines are moving and throwing pucks on net whenever there is a lane. Solid forecheck but eventually leads to a bad timing high-sticking penalty from Connor Clifton on Lars Eller. Officials debated the call for a few moments but settled on a four-minute penalty. On the Washington power-play, Ovechkin gets a few one-timers from his office – but Rask gets across to make all the saves. Late on the power-play, Brad Marchand with some great shorthanded forecheck leads to a John Carlson turnover and Patrice Bergeron buries a backhander, 1-0 Bruins.

One of the biggest flaws of the Bruins earlier in the season was the lack of killer instinct, that isn’t the case after the Bergeron goal. Boston keeps the pressure on Washington. Krejci enters the zone, feeds it behind to Craig Smith who one-taps it to Connor Clifton along the boards. Clifton then sends a puck across the crease where Krejci taps it in for his fourth goal of the season to give Boston a two-goal advantage.

Washington showed a clear attempt to sway the momentum back in their favour in their favour. Some good zone pressure and extra physicality. With only a few seconds to go in the opening frame, Mike Reilly gets beat on a zone pinch, causing a chance for the Capitals the other way. Nicklas Backstrom undresses Charlie McAvoy and shoots glove side on Rask who is unable to grab the puck, leaving a clear rebound for TJ Oshie who buries it, 2-1 game.

It is quite evident that the Bruins and Capitals do not like each other and as the buzzer sounds, another scrum ensues between both teams. Garnet Hathaway was in the middle of it, as he usually is, but it’s Curtis Lazar and Nic Dowd who get matching minor penalties for roughing.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 10 WSH: 14

Score: 2-1 Bruins – Goals: Bergeron (17)(SHG) Assists: Marchand (30); Krejci (4) Assists: Clifton (6), Smith (16); Oshie (15) Assists: Backstrom (32)

Second Period:

Just less than three minutes into the middle frame, Connor Clifton gets into a cross-check battle with Connor Sheary, but gets a bit too excited and cross-checks him right to the face and Clifton will sit in the box for another double-minor penalty. This time, the Caps don’t wait to score. TJ Oshie in the bumper spot buries his second of the game early in the second to tie the game at two, Capitals still have two minutes on the power-play and they utilize it – Anthony Mantha snipes a screened shot past Rask and Washington takes a 3-2 lead.

Boston is not letting Washington repeat last week’s result that easily. Charlie McAvoy with some big keep-ins that leads to what looks like a perfect feed for a David Pastrnak one-timer in the slot, however, Brad Marchand steals it from Pastrnak, burying it on the backhand past Vanacek to tie the game at three. Bruins’ first line is rolling today.

With 6:05 left in the period, the Capitals take a penalty after a few more scruffles so Boston gets another power-play bid. Not much happened on the man-advantage, but just as Hathaway exited the penalty box, David Krejci has the puck all by myself – showing off excellent patience to toe drag around a sliding Capitals defender and nets his second, Bruins re-take the lead.

Boston keeps the momentum rolling after a strong defensive play leads to a 2-on-1 with Marchand and Pastrnak. Marchand attempts to feed the puck across to Pastrnak, but is broken up ever-so-slightly by the defenceman. Pastrnak recovers the puck and quickly feeds it to a trailing Patrice Bergeron for his second goal of the contest – Bruins take a 5-3 lead late in the second period.

Just as the period is coming to a close, Washington makes a zone entrance and looks to try and make an effort to cut into the Bruins’ lead again. However, Mike Reilly takes a hooking penalty on Oshie and he’ll sit in the box for the first 1:47 of the third period. Boston ahead 5-3.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 20 WSH: 25

Score: 5-3 Bruins – Goals: Oshie (16)(PPG) Assists: Kuznetsov (17), Backstrom (33); Mantha (15)(PPG) Assists: Orlov (8), Eller (14); Marchand (22) Assists: Bergeron (22), McAvoy (20); Krejci (5) Assists: Smith (18), Hall (18); Bergeron (18) Assists: Pastrnak (19), Marchand (31)

Third Period:

The Bruins successfully kill off the penalty that carried over from the second period, only to allow Alex Ovechkin alone on a breakaway. Tuukka Rask makes the strong stop in the butterfly position and then makes the follow-up stop on Lars Eller and freezes the puck. Huge pair of stops for the Bruins’ netminder to keep it a two-goal game.

A few minutes later, Sean Kuraly gets tangled up with Ovechkin while in the offensive zone and as he’s falling, Tom Wilson blasts him with a hit from behind. Kuraly heads to the tunnel and Jarred Tinordi goes to the box for roughing as a response to the hit. Kuraly did end up returning to the Bruins’ bench and Boston makes the full kill. Not entirely sure Wilson’s hit was dirty, just unfortunate that Kuraly lost his balance and was falling to the ice.

Moments after Curtis Lazar rang the post, Tinordi takes a hit to the back that sent his face driving into the boards from Hathaway but even with the officials right there, no penalty was called on the ice, but after review the officials hand Hathaway a five-minute game misconduct for boarding. Boston to a long power-play. Unfortunately, though, the Bruins don’t generate any chances offensively on the power-play. Back to even-strength.

With the goalie pulled, David Pastrnak makes a big diving stick stop to send Brad Marchand all alone to score the empty-net marker and secure a big Bruins win. Marchand looked to find Bergeron for the hat-trick, but Bergeron was in the defensive zone making his way back. Regardless, a big two points for the Bruins today.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 28 WSH: 33

Final Score: 6-3 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F Brad Marchand – 2 Goals, 2 Assists, +4 Rating, 19:11 TOI

2nd Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 2 Goals, 1 Assist, 5 Shots, 60% Faceoffs

3rd Star: BOS F David Pastrnak – 2 Assists, +3 Rating

Bruins extend their lead for 4th in the MassMutual East Division to six points over the New York Rangers and prepare for a three-game set against the Buffalo Sabres this week.