Talking Points: Pastrnak a bright spot in Bruins comeback
Justin Williams has struggled offensively for the Capitals this season, but don’t tell the Bruins that after he dropped a couple of goals on them in the first period on Wednesday night. The first was a straight hustle play where he got behind rookie D-man Brandon Carlo on the first shift of the game and tipped a lobbed centering pass through Tuukka Rask. He followed that up with another goal a few minutes later to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead that might have been enough on another night, but instead the Bruins clawed back into the game. Still Williams got his third and fourth goals of the season, and had six shot attempts and two takeaways in 18:54 of ice time for the Capitals after re-establishing himself as the dangerous offensive threat he nearly always is in the playoffs.
Tough night for rookie defenseman Brandon Carlo. The 20-year-old wasn’t able to contain Justin Williams on the first shift of the game as he tipped a puck past Tuukka Rask for a quick lead in Washington, and then he was taken off the top shutdown pair with Zdeno Chara almost immediately afterward. In the second period Carlo couldn’t take away the pass on Washington’s 2-on-1 and watched as Daniel Winnik buried a Jay Beagle feed after Kevan Miller was caught pinching up ice. It was a bit of a soft play from Carlo off the boards in the neutral zone that led to the 2-on-1 in the first place, and then Carlo was in the middle of the 2-on-1 for the Capitals in OT that led to the Nicklas Backstrom game-winner as well. Carlo finished a minus-2 and had four giveaways in 22:30 of ice time, and probably learned a few valuable lessons against a high-powered Capitals group.
The Bruins scored two goals in the final four minutes of the second period to really begin clawing their way back into the game, but it all started with the strike from the fourth line that finally got Boston on the board. Anton Blidh intercepted a clearing attempt from Braden Holtby and threw the puck right back at the Washington net. Holtby managed to get a piece of the Blidh shot, but Dominic Moore was able to slam home the loose puck in the crease that looked like it was going to pass the goal line either way. The fourth line score gave the Bruins a positive result to build on, and eventually pushed them to get into overtime after a dreadful start.
David Pastrnak continues to dazzle everybody. The 20-year-old kept the B’s foot on the gas pedal in the second period when he stripped Evgeny Kuznetsov near the blue line, and then beat the Washington playmaker in a race to the puck that opened up a partial breakaway opportunity. Pastrnak used his elite skill set to shovel a backhanded bid between Holtby’s leg pads, and score his 16th goal in 22 games this season. Pastrnak was active all game with three shots on net, five shot attempts and three takeaways in 16:23 of ice time in another showcase for his world class offensive skills in front of a national audience on NBCSN.
BY THE NUMBERS
1-8-5 – Tuukka Rask’s career record against the Washington Capitals as he also remains winless in a Verizon Wireless Arena setting that’s been extremely unfriendly for the B’s over the last four years.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"It just goes to show that you've got to trust the system, stick with it, and good things will happen." – Tuukka Rask to reporters in Washington DC after the Bruins hung in there, and overcame a three-goal deficit to earn a point by pushing overtime in an eventual 4-3 loss to the Capitals.