Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while insisting that the Night King is going to pay for a new wall.
*Will Butcher announced that he’s going to sign with the New Jersey Devils, which makes total sense given the wide open path he’ll have to an immediate NHL job. That was not going to be the case in Boston, and was a big reason why the Bruins were never going to be a factor in this particular NCAA sweepstakes. Instead it feels like a done deal that the B’s are going to give Kevan Miller a long look on the left side opposite of Charlie McAvoy, and we’ll see how that plays out in training camp.
*Puck Daddy continues their summer “What if…” series wondering what would have happened had the San Jose Sharks moved on from Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau three years ago.
*After an interesting, often spectacular and too abbreviated career with the Broad Street Bullies, Eric Lindros will have his No. 88 retired by the Philadelphia Flyers this season.
*PHT writer Adam Gretz has Arizona Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair under pressure this season after a disappointing year that ended with trade rumors.
*It sounds like a Toronto Maple Leafs scout had quite the day for himself while reportedly taking a stolen golf cart on a drunken joy ride.
*For something completely different: The newest version of Stephen King’s “IT” is due to hit theatres this week is getting a lot of early reactions as an extremely scary venture to the cinema. Damn, do I hate clowns.
GOLD STAR: Alex Chiasson really didn’t get going until about midway through the game, but he made a huge impact once he began making plays in the third period. It's worth mentioning he is a former Boston University Terrier so he made himself comfortable in TD Garden. He gave the Capitals a two-goal cushion in the third period when he followed his own shot and outmuscled Brandon Carlo for a bid right in front of the Bruins net. Then four minutes later, Chiasson blocked a Torey Krug shot on the penalty kill and raced down to finish off a breakaway for the game-winning goal. The former Terrier finished with two goals, a plus-2 rating, three shots on net, five takeaways and a couple of blocked shots in just 12:46 of ice time. Just add Chiasson to the long list of skilled big bodies for the Caps that have done damage to the B’s over the years.
BLACK EYE: Anders Bjork is going through a very quiet patch offensively since coming back from injury, and was benched for stretches of the game while totaling a team-low 6:47 of ice time for the Bruins. Bjork finished with a minus-1 rating and zero shots on net, and now has one point and just two shots on goal in six games since coming back from a concussion. It will be interesting to see what the Bruins do with Bjork, who may be a prime candidate to watch a game up in the press box with Ryan Spooner pushing to get back into the B’s lineup. Either way it looks like Bjork is going through one of those rookie valleys right now. Perhaps he simply needs more time to recover from his concussion.
TURNING POINT: The turning point came in the third period when the Capitals scored three goals on six shots and pulled away from the Bruins. The Black and Gold had been closely trailing the Caps until that point in the game. Washington was outshot 37-21 by Boston, but they proved to have more quality chances, scoring five goals despite a lower quantity of shots. The Bruins are now 1-9-1 when trailing after two periods, and can’t pull the same kind of comeback magic against a stronger team like the Capitals. It’s too bad because the Bruins had their chances in the game, but just couldn't get over the hump.
HONORABLE MENTION: Patrice Bergeron was the best Bruins player, burying a couple of goals, finishing with nine shot attempts, a few hits, a blocked shot and 15-of-20 face-off wins. Patrice got both of his goals on the power play, but he also finished with a minus-2 rating. If Bergeron is a minus player, it doesn't bode well for this team. But he also deserves some credit for emptying the tank on a night when the Bruins got back in from Detroit at 3 a.m. and play one of the best teams in the conference on a back-to-back.
BY THE NUMBERS: 11 – the consecutive number of losses for the Bruins against the Washington Capitals in a woeful stretch of hockey that dates back to March of 2014.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We shot a lot of pucks and it just didn't go our way. When the black cat cross your road, it's just a black cat crossing the road." –Anton Khudobin on the loss to the Capitals, where I think he’s referring to the B’s hitting three posts.
BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t play badly against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, but they certainly didn’t play well enough to beat the bully on their block.
The B's dropped a 5-3 decision to the Capitals for their 11th straight defeat, and haven’t won a game against Washington since March of 2014.
Washington scored first and never trailed in the game after a first period goal by Jakub Vrana. The Caps forward rushed in from the neutral zone and caught the Bruins out of sorts defensively. Vrana walked right around Matt Grzelcyk, and then beat Anton Khudobin with a slick move to capture the lead.
The Bruins tied it up on a power play strike from Patrice Bergeron in the second period, but then lost ground during a Washington powerplay. Nicklas Backstrom redirected a Evgeny Kuznetsov pass from the point to re-take the lead for the Capitals, and then they continued to build on that advantage in the third period.
Alex Chiasson followed his own shot beating Brandon Carlo in a physical battle in front of the net, and pushed the rebound past Khudobin for the insurance marker. Chiasson then doubled his pleasure and doubled his fun by scoring a second goal when he blocked a Torey Krug shot on the penalty kill. He skated home free down the ice and buried a breakaway bid. The B’s closed it back to two goals in the final minutes of the third when David Krejci redirected a Charlie McAvoy attempt from the point.
Alex Ovechkin cleared the puck on the next shift, banking it off the boards. Krejci looked like he was trying to sell an icing but the puck unexpectedly banked directly into the net. It looked like it was the final strike of the game, but Bergeron would add another seconds later. It was too late though, and Washington captured their 11th straight victory against the Bruins by a score of 5-3.