By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
DeBrusk – Lazar – Wagner
Ritchie – McKegg – Senyshyn
Frederic – Studnicka – Steen
Blidh – Hughes – Kuhlman
Zboril – Clifton
Tinordi – Kampfer
Ahcan – Vaakanainen
Ovechkin – Backstrom – Mantha
Sheary – Eller – Raffl
Sprong – Maillet – Wilson
Hagelin – Dowd – Hathaway
Orlov – Schultz
Dillon – van Riemsdyk
Chara – Jensen
I can safely say that this is the most unorthodox game of the season for the Bruins. There is resting some top players, and then there is what the Bruins did. The lineup looked quite different.
Connor Clifton, flexed to the top defensive pairing for the night, went off for slashing at the 12:45 mark. A minute and 29 seconds into the power play for the Capitals, Anthony Mantha turned it into a 4-on-4 when he went off for tripping.
The 31 seconds of 4-on-4 time expired and a minute and 29 seconds of power play time began for the Bruins as a result. Carl Hagelin found himself on a shorthanded breakaway early on, but sent it wide of the net on a slapshot. Neither team was able to get the goal-scoring started and even strength play resumed.
The difference in pace this period, as opposed to past games with much different-looking Bruins lineups, was pretty noticeable. But overall, the new-look Bruins didn’t look all that bad. The Capitals definitely picked up the pace more and more as the period went on, but overall, things weren’t too bad and it was a scoreless game after 20 minutes. Shots on goal were nine to six in favor of the Capitals.
Alex Ovechkin nearly got the goal scoring started off of a faceoff at the offensive blue line, but was stopped by Jeremy Swayman. The difference in pace remained noticeable through the first half of the period, but that’s not to say the Bruins weren’t working hard. It was apparent tell a lot of these players returning the lineup were really trying to make the most of this opportunity from an effort standpoint at bare minimum.
Just past the halfway point of the period, an offensive zone activation by Jarred Tinordi allowed him to set up Curtis Lazar for the game’s first goal. Lazar’s seventh goal of the season was set up by Tinordi’s first assist and point of the season, as well as Jake DeBrusk’s seventh. The Bruins were up by a goal with 9:49 to go.
Hagelin played spoiler to the second period lead, as he potted a loose puck in the crease with 3:45 to go. That was about it leading up until the end of another 20 minutes of play. Shots on goal were 17 to eight in favor of the Capitals, bringing the total to 26 to 14 through 40 minutes.
Tough news came during the second intermission in the form of the announcement that Jakub Zboril wouldn’t return for the rest of the game due to an upper-body injury. With the top-six from the Islanders game in the first half of this back-to-back resting, being down to five defensemen is definitely not ideal – even in a game that doesn’t affect the playoff structure.
Trent Frederic and Tom Wilson each received ten-minute misconducts at the 18:11 mark as a result of going after each other after a whistle. Even strength play carried on.
Throughout the period, the Bruins outshot the Capitals, couldn’t get the go-ahead goal. Most notably amongst scoring chances was a quick snapshot by Oskar Steen within the final two minutes that rang the post.
While it appeared that this game was bound for overtime, Michael Raffl had other plans. He sent a shot on net from an absurd angle in the dying seconds and gave the Capitals the lead with just 1.8 seconds remaining. That was enough to seal the win for them.
Given the look of the lineup and losing a defenseman in Zboril for the third period, it wasn’t too bad of a game for the Bruins. Shots on goal in the third period were 11 to five in favor of the Bruins, bringing the total to 32 to 25 in favor of the Capitals. Swayman made 30 saves in the loss.
The Bruins finish the regular season with a record of 33-16-7 thanks to a tough ending in this one. Now they wait for Saturday when the first round of the playoffs against the Capitals get underway.
Final Score: 2-1 Washington