A Battle Between the NHL’s Best: Washington Capitals vs Boston Bruins

Washington Capitals (22-5-5) vs Boston Bruins (20-5-6)

 Predicted GoaltenderRecordGAA / SV% / # SO
Washington CapitalsBraden Holtby15-2-42.78 / .910 / 0
Boston BruinsJaroslav Halak7-2-32.22 / .930 / 2

Tonight, the Washington Capitals will take on the Boston Bruins for the second time this season, as they try to re-ignite a winning streak. The last time these two teams played, back on November 16th, Washington defeated the Bruins in a 3-2 shootout win. The Capitals have given up just one loss in their last 16 games versus Boston, dating back to 2014 (mcubed).

The Washington Capitals dropped their last game in a 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Prior to Mondays’ loss, the Capitals had won six consecutive games, and 13 of their last 18. More impressively, the Capitals had earned points in 16 of 19 games since the start of November (NHL.com). Despite Nicklas Backstrom making his return to the lineup, sleepy skating and a powerless power play cost Washington their first game back at Capital One Arena after a historic California road-trip. Just three and a half minutes into the first period, Cam Atkinson scored his 6th goal of the season. The Columbus Blue Jackets would get their first power play at the 4:28 mark as Caps’ goaltender Braden Holtby was called for tripping. Richard Panik then went off for charging at the 9:19 mark. Columbus wouldn’t convert on either power play. Washington received their first man-advantage of the game just about 40 seconds into the Columbus power play, so the two teams would play 4-on-4, and then the Caps would have the man-advantage. Washington would not convert either. The Capitals played a very lethargic first period, were outshot 20 to 6 by Columbus, and did not ‘wake up’ until the middle frame. Although Columbus’ Ryan Murray gave the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead at the 6:52 mark, Washington outshot their opposition 15 to 6. The Capitals received back to back power plays as Oliver Bjorkstrand was called for interference and then Pierre Luc-Dubois for hooking, but again, they would not convert. Nic Dowd went off for tripping at the 18:31 mark of the second, and therefore, Columbus would start the third period with 29 seconds remaining on the power play. Washington did kill off that power play, and about 10 seconds later, Alex Ovechkin spoiled Joonas Korpisalo’s shutout hopes with his 21st goal of the season. Nic Dowd was called for his second minor penalty of the night as he went off for tripping at the 3:28 mark. The Blue Jackets’ 11th ranked power play did not convert on their fourth power play of the evening. Riley Nash gave Columbus their 2-goal lead back after scoring his 2nd of the season, as the puck bounced off Holtby’s pads into the back of the net. Four minutes later, Oliver Bjorkstrand improved his squads’ lead to three goals with his 7th of the season. The Capitals would pull Holtby with five minutes remaining, but Tom Wilson would be called for goaltender interference. Washington would kill off the penalty and then elected to pull Holtby once again with about two minutes left. Nicklas Backstrom would score in his first game back, pulling Washington back within two. Unfortunately, the effort would be all for naught as Cam Atkinson scored his second of the game with an empty net goal. Braden Holtby would end the night with a .892 save percentage, as he allowed four goals on 37 shots. Holtby is expected to start against the Bruins.


The Boston Bruins also dropped their last game on Monday, as they lost to the Ottawa Senators, 5-2. Artem Anisimov potted his 4th of the season just 1:35 into the first period. Anthony Duclair gave Ottawa a 2-0 lead with his 14th of the season with just under five minutes remaining in the first. Patrice Bergeron cut the Senators’ lead in half two minutes later with his 9th on the year. No penalties were called in the first period, but there were four power plays in the second. Charlie Coyle was called for tripping early in the second, but Bostons’ 6th ranked penalty kill kept Ottawa off the board.  The Bruins then received three consecutive power plays as Vladislav Namestnikov was called for tripping, then Dylan DeMelo for high-sticking, and DeMelo again for tripping. However, the Bruins’ 3rd ranked power play would not convert on either opportunity. Chris Tierney would improve Ottawa’s lead to a mark of 3-1 as he scored his 4th goal of the season at the 1:21 mark of the second. It was not until the 9:35 mark of the third period that anything notable occurred. Brandon Carlo was called for kneeing, and Ottawa would receive just their second power play of the game. That power play would be cut short as Thomas Chabot was called for high-sticking, and therefore, play would resume as 4-on-4. David Pastrnak went off for two minutes for tripping at the 14:46 mark, and Ottawa again wouldn’t convert. Things got really interesting once Colin White for Ottawa was called for tripping, and Boston would receive their 5th and final power play. Without a single goal since early in the second, three goals were scored in the last three minutes of this match. The Bruins would elect to pull their goalie on the power play, but Jean-Gabriel Pageau would score an empty-net, short-handed goal, his 16th of the year. Just 43 seconds later, Jake DeBrusk would score a Bruins’ power play goal, bringing Boston within two. In the last second of the game, Anthony Duclair would pot his 2nd of the game, an empty netter, sealing the 5-2 win for the Senators. Tuuka Rask allowed three goals on 26 shots, ending his night with a .885 save percentage (TheScore, BOS @ OTT). As is expected, Jaroslav Halak will start for the Bruins.

The Boston Bruins are in much better shape injury-wise than they were the last time they played Washingon. The Bruins will be without Kevan Miller (IR-NR, kneecap), Anton Blindh (IR-NR, shoulder), Zach Senyshyn (DL, lower body), and Karson Kuhlman (DL, leg).


 

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References:

Mcubed. (2019). NHL: Series records: Washington Capitals against Boston Bruins. Retrieved from http://mcubed.net/nhl/wsh/bos.shtml.

NHL.com. (2019). 2019-2020 Regular Season- Washington Capitals- Statistics. Retrieved from http://capitals.ice.nhl.com/club/gamelog.htm.

TheScore. (2019). Boston Bruins News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/1.

TheScore. (2019). Boston Bruins @ Ottawa Senators. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/22196.

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