Horrendous first period dooms the Capitals in Boston


The Capitals allowed four goals in the first period to the Boston Bruins on Monday in a disastrous start from which they could not recover in a 7-3 loss. Washington gave Boston four power plays in the first period including a two-minute 5-on-3.

Here is how the Caps lost.


The Caps survived Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning despite taking seven minor penalties. The PK managed to kill off all seven opportunities and came into Monday’s game ranked 2nd in the NHL, but taking that many penalties is not a recipe for success and this game was certainly a reminder of that.

Washington took two penalties and gave up a power play goal before the game was even six minutes old. The Bruins had four power plays and two goals in just the first period.

Things spiraled towards the end of the first as Jakub Vrana and Evgeny Kuznetsov were both given separate minors at the same time putting the Bruins on a two-man advantage for a full two minutes. Not surprisingly, Patrice Bergeron scored during the 5-on-3.

For the game, Washington gave Boston six power plays.

Two goals in 27 seconds

Braden Holtby let up a big rebound on a David Pastrnak shot and Brad Marchand muscled his way through John Carlson to get to the puck and score. Just 27 seconds later, things went from bad to worse as a comedy of errors led to Anders Bjork getting the puck on his stick and firing it to make it 3-0. Dmitry Orlov should have cleared the puck along the boards and Evgeny Kuznetsov had a chance to knock the puck out of danger but whiffed on it. It was just that kind of night.


And then after going down 3-0, that's when the Caps took the two-minute 5-on-3.

The first period

Boston scored four times in the first period and knew they were going to win. They then decided to mail in the rest of the game. After the first period, Boston took only six shots on goal and two of them were empty-net goals. Alex Ovechkin, Lars Eller and Garnet Hathaway would all score to get Washington on the board. Clearly, this could have been a game if not for that disastrous start.
Caps don't take advantage of flukey no-goal

Just about nothing went Washington's way in the first period. In the second, they finally caught a break.

David Krejci tripped Dmitry Orlov behind Washington's net taking a tripping penalty in the process. Orlov fell to the ice and wildly swung the puck while on the ice back towards the middle, right on his own net. The whistle blew and the puck went into the net.

Now here's the problem: It was a delayed penalty on Boston, but no Bruins player had actually touched the puck. So by putting the puck in his own net, that should have been a goal for Boston, but because the referee blew his whistle it was no goal.

That's a huge break. Just about the only thing that could have made the game worse at that point was an own-goal. Instead, the Caps dodged a bullet and received a power play. if the comeback was going to happen, this is where it needed to start. That's not how it worked out.

Marchand was trying to knock the puck out of Boston's defensive zone. Orlov whiffed on the puck at the blue line allowing Marchand to take it into the neutral zone. Jakub Vrana whiffed on a hit and suddenly Marchand was able to hand the puck off to Charlie Coyle for the breakaway and the shorthanded goal.

Getting a goal taken off the board does not matter if you immediately give up a shorthanded goal on the resulting power play.

By that point, the goal was over. Alex Ovechkin, Lars Eller, and Garnet Hathaway would both score, but it was largely window dressing.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.