GOLD STAR: As he’s done so much throughout his career, Braden Holtby once again showed his mastery of the Bruins with 30 saves with many of them Grade-A chances for the Bruins. Holtby stopped a couple of shots in the second period when Charlie Coyle and Nick Ritchie were buzzing around the net, and flashed a glove save on Charlie McAvoy as he moved in for a golden chance in the middle 20 minutes.
The Bruins really poured on the pressure in the third period with 16 shots on net and finally broke through in the third on an excellent Jake DeBrusk individual move, but Holtby stood tall and didn’t crack even as the B’s tilted the ice against the Capitals. That has to continue to be a huge concern for the Bruins as Holtby has always owned the Black and Gold and that continued in this round-robin finale ahead of next weeks’ playoffs.
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BLACK EYE: Once again, Zdeno Chara really wasn’t all that impressive for the Bruins. It was his giveaway when he didn’t feel the pressure coming in the first period that led to a TJ Oshie goal in front of the net. Instead of getting the puck away from the danger area, Chara steered right into Oshie and imminent danger allowing the Capitals to score with 16 seconds left in the first period after a strong opening 20 minutes.
Chara finished with under 19 minutes of ice time, no shots on net and a couple of giveaways while once again playing very light minutes. Perhaps he’s being saved for the real playoffs next week, but it still very much looks like Chara is a step behind the pace of the action around him after the round-robin warm-up segment. Chara had his issues against the Flyers and Lightning as well, so there is most definitely concern right now about the 43-year-old.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins trailed 1-0 headed into the first intermission and came out in the second with some pretty good chances. The third line buzzed around the net with Charlie Coyle firing a puck that leaked through Braden Holtby and got the Washington goalie scrambling in the crease.
Nick Ritchie had one quick chance blocked by Brendan Dillon when he couldn’t elevate the shot and then allowed Holtby enough time to recover and make the save when he fired a follow-up shot at the Washington net. A goal there would have tied the game and really changed the complexion of everything for both teams, but it didn’t happen and instead, the story of the game was the Bruins managing just one goal once again despite some very good offensive chances.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jake DeBrusk didn’t have a particularly great game, but he finished off a play with some silky soft hands in the third period that got Boston on the board. And honestly, that’s all he needs to do in this postseason to support the Bruins’ need for secondary offense on the second line.
DeBrusk took a pass from Ondrej Kase and played it behind his back before quickly firing it on net without hesitation for the five-hole goal on Braden Holtby. The goal wiped out an offensive zone penalty that DeBrusk took earlier in the game and gave the youngster something to build on after totaling four shot attempts and a couple of hits in 16:21 of ice time.
DeBrusk, Krejci and Ondrej Kase are going to be very important in these playoffs and teaming for a goal on Sunday was a good place to start ahead of next week’s games.
BY THE NUMBERS: 00:00 – that’s the amount of time that the Bruins played with a lead through all four games they have played in the Toronto bubble. They literally have not led at any point in any game over the last two weeks. It’s really tough to win that way.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "These round-robin games or whatever they were, you just shake the rust off and try to get back to the team game. It doesn't matter what seed you are because you need to beat them all to advance. It’s over now. Now we start the real hockey.” –Tuukka Rask, clearly glad to see the round-robin portion of the Return To play over and done.