Talking points from the Bruins' 4-2 loss to the Capitals
GOLD STAR: Alex Ovechkin is a pretty darn good player. He scored a pair of goals and was a plus-2 in 20:58 of ice time, had seven shot attempts, four hits and a blocked shot, and threw the hit of the night when he tossed 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara over the boards and into the Capitals bench. Ovechkin iced the game with the empty net goal with less than two minutes to go in the third period, and scored a momentum-stealing score at the end of the first period when it looked like the Bruins might start rolling after tying the game. There are nights when your star players elevate and really set the tone, and Ovechkin absolutely did that for the Capitals in the victory.
BLACK EYE: It sure wasn’t a very good night for Jaroslav Halak, who ended up on the losing side of things despite the Bruins outshooting the Capitals by a 41-22 margin over the course of the game. Halak gave up three goals on 21 shots before giving way to the empty net goal in the end, and it was the game-winner for the Capitals that was a killer. Nicklas Backstrom fired one from beyond the top of the face-off circle that Halak simply missed on when it went love glove hand on him. The first goal certainly wasn’t Halak’s fault as it was a defensive breakdown for Torey Krug and John Moore, but that’s also one that the Bruins would surely love to have their goalie make a play on. The bottom line was that Halak was outplayed by Braden Holtby in this game.
TURNING POINT: There turned out to be a pair of turning points for the Bruins. First, there was the B’s giving up a game-tying goal 39 seconds after cracking the score sheet with a Ryan Donato goal in the first period. Then there was the Bruins again giving up another 1:09 after they scored to again tie it in the third period. In both cases, the B’s defense and the goaltender need to figure out a way to keep Washington off the board for at least a shift or two after scoring. The inability to do that turned into an absolute momentum killer for the Black and Gold, and largely played into them losing the game.
HONORABLE MENTION: Give the honorable mention to Ryan Donato, who had one of his best games with the Bruins. Donato stepped into a Torey Krug pass with time and space, and fired a puck top corner on Braden Holtby for his sixth goal of the season. It was beyond simply scoring for Donato, however, as he finished with a plus-1 in 15:28 of ice time, led the Bruins with seven shots on net, had nine shot attempts overall and even had a couple of takeaways while playing some assertive hockey with Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Danton Heinen. Now the Bruins are going to want to see more of this out of Donato after showing he can could do it against one of the best teams in the league.
BY THE NUMBERS: 14 – the number of consecutive victories for the Capitals over the Bruins dating back, I believe, to the Reagan Administration in the 1980s. Well, maybe not but it certainly feels that way.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I haven't looked at the stat sheet, but I really don't feel like I need to prove anything. He plays maybe 10-12 minutes a night and I'm playing 20. In a 1-0 game and to go on a power play, it doesn't make sense." –Brad Marchand, on why he didn’t fight Lars Eller when challenged by him in the first period.
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