|Goaltender||GAA / SV%||% Games Won of Total GP|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||3.16 / .857||.652|
|Boston Bruins||Tuukka Rask||3.10 / .914||.714|
Both the Capitals and the Bruins are playing in their final Round Robin game. The Boston Bruins were awarded the President’s Trophy this year, after finishing the season with the best record in the league, and 100 points. Washington historically has a nearly perfect record against Boston dating back to October 2010. The only two exceptions coming last December 23rd, when the Bruins scored a touchdown with a converted extra point, putting up a score of 7-3 over the Caps, and a 3-2 shootout loss back in February 2019, in which Boston ended a 14-game losing streak (mcubed).
The Washington Capitals dropped their second round robin game to the high-power Philadephia Flyers on Thursday by a score of 3-1. Alex Ovechkin hadn’t tallied a single point in four regular season meetings against the Flyers. With Lars Eller having left the bubble for the birth of his second child, Travis Boyd slid into the 3C position. Just short of the four-minute mark, Michal Kempny and Sean Couturier were assessed matching minor penalties, and play thus resumed as 4-on-4. Tom Wilson was called for and boarding and Philadelphia played 4-on-3 for a minute, then a traditional power play for a minute. The Caps successfully killed off the penalty, but the Flyers went right back on the power play as Brenden Dillon was called for tripping. The referees failed to appropriately call a cross-checking penalty that would have given Washington a power play. Scott Laughton benefited off of a horrible Radko Gudas turnover to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. The Caps finally received a power play as Jakub Voracek went off to the box for tripping. Evgeny Kuznetsov was injured as Connor Bunnaman was called for holding, and Washington got another power play, but didn’t convert. Luckily, Kuznetsov returned to play at the start of the second period. Garnet Hathaway was called for roughing at the 6:08 mark, and thus Washington went back on the penalty kill. As soon as that penalty was killed off, Philadelphia got another opportunity to add to their lead with the man-advantage. With 23 seconds remaining on the Flyers PP, the Capitals were given a power play with Travis Konecny went off for sashing. But before Washington had a chance to skate with the man-advantage, Kempny was called for his second penalty, washing out the power play. Travis Sanheim gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead moments after the resumption of 4-on-4 play. There were far too many additional minor penalties called against Washington to mention, but the Capitals still have a penalty problem. At the 8:37 mark of the third, Scott Laughton all but sealed the win for the Flyers with his second goal of the game, but then the Capitals immediately responded as Travis Boyd spoiled Elliott’s shutout hopes, making it 3-1.
Washington then got a power play opportunity to cut into the Flyer’s lead by another goal with nine minutes left. Unfortunately, the Capitals were unable to pull together a win or an overtime loss. Braden Holtby earned the start for this game, and per head-coach Todd Reirden, will play the entirety of the game versus Boston.
The Bruins are looking rough, and that’s an understatement. After dropping their 2nd round robin game versus the Lightning last Wednesday, Boston can finish no better than 3rd in seeding. Tampa took an early 2-0 lead in the first, starting with a goal from Brayden Point at the 7:33 mark of the opening frame. Tampa tallied their second goal courtesy of a power-play goal by Alex Killorn, with Boston having been assessed a too-many-men penalty just past the 10-minute mark. Charlie McAvoy spoiled Andrei Vasilevskiy’s shutout hopes with his first goal of the playoffs, coming at the 16:43 mark of the second. Boston allowed the fewest goals against in the 2019-20 season (2.39), boasted the 2nd best power play in the league (25.2%), and maintained the 3rd best penalty kill (84.2%) (TheScore). Despite being gifted four power-plays, Boston was unable to convert on even one. Meanwhile, the Lightning went 1-for-2 with the man-advantage. Chris Wagner scored just short of the two-minute mark of the third period, adding to Boston’s one goal, thus tying the game. As the clock counted down, the likelihood of another overtime period for Tampa increased. It would take nearly 17 minutes for the tie-breaker, and it was Tyler Johnson of the Lightning that would do so. His first goal of the playoffs at the 18:33 mark was the ultimate game winner. Tuukka Rask stopped 32 of 35 shots faced, resulting in a .914 save percentage. Rask is expected to start on Sunday.
The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins will face-off in their final Round Robin match on Sunday, August 9th, at 12PM EST from Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Canada.
Nicklas Backstrom did not practice on Friday, and his status to play Sunday is to-be-determined. Lars Eller remains in DC after the birth of his second child.
Mcubed. (2020). NHL: Series Records: Washington Capitals against Boston Bruins. Retrieved from http://mcubed.net/nhl/wsh/bos.shtml.
TheScore. (2020). Boston Bruins News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/1.