Talking Points: Eighth consecutive win for Capitals vs. Bruins
Alex Ovechkin scored and Braden Holtby won again against the Bruins, but it was Nicklas Backstrom that dominated against the B's this time around. He threaded a needle to TJ Oshie for a first period breakaway goal and then scored on a rocketed rebound attempt to get the Capitals off and running in the first period. Backstrom finished with a goal and three points along with a plus-2 rating in 19:47 of ice time, and had five shot attempts along with 8-of-17 face off wins for the Capitals. The whole package was on display from Backstrom between the playmaking, the offensive instincts and ability to score when he wants to look for his own offense.
Kevan Miller finished with a minus-3 and struggled defensively along with a number of his other teammates, and made mistakes against a Washington Capitals team that will make you pay over and over again. The real killer for Miller and the rest of the Bruins was the first goal allowed in the third period to Brett Connolly where it felt like the entire Boston defense was puck-watching as the former B’s forward glided in, deked and flipped a shot past Tuukka Rask. Miller had one shot on net and five hits in 16:40 of ice time, and truth be told there were a number of B’s players that just weren’t up to snuff against Washington.
The Bruins had tied the game up at 2-2 in the second period on the strength of a couple of Brad Marchand goals, and had put themselves in a pretty good position for the third period. But then a borderline holding call on Brandon Carlo at the end of the second period put the Capitals on the power play, and they scored with an Alex Ovechkin point blast to take a one goal lead just ahead of the second intermission. The score served as exactly the gut punch that the Capitals needed, and the reeling Bruins would trail for the entirety of the third period before eventually falling by a 5-3 score. Once again the B’s lost in a game where they outshot the Capitals by a 33-22 margin through the 60 minutes.
Brad Marchand finished with two goals and three points in 20:58 of ice time, and now has 13 goals and 23 points in his last 15 games while starting February as red-hot as he was through all of January. Clearly it wasn’t all roses and rainbows for Marchand as he finished a minus-2 for the Bruins as well, but he’s doing more than his share offensively while waiting for the rest of the Bruins to catch up in that department. Marchand did have a key giveaway that he put right on the stick of Nicklas Backstrom in the first period that turned into Washington’s first goal, but his two power play scores after that point more than cancelled things out.
BY THE NUMBERS
8 – the number of consecutive wins that the Capitals have over the Bruins for their longest winning streak against Boston in Washington franchise history. The Caps have outscored the B’s by a 27-10 margin over that stretch.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“Yeah, I'm alright. I just popped my groin a little bit, but nothing major." – Tuukka Rask, on his condition after it looked like he cringed a little after making a full-split save late in the third period of the 5-3 loss after playing in back-to-back games.