The Capitals routed the Boston Bruins 7-0 on Oct. 3 in the season opener. As dominant as the win may have seemed, such dominance by the Caps over Boston has become something of a trend in recent years.
Sometimes in hockey, one team just seems to have another’s number. The Capitals have been a thorn in the side of the Bruins for nearly five years now as they have beaten Boston 13-straight times in a stretch dating back to 2014.
Over a streak that long, coaches, players and systems change so Washington’s win steak cannot simply be explained away as being a favorable matchup against Boston.
“I don’t know. Maybe luck,” Alex Ovechkin said when trying to explain the Caps’ run.
“Some teams you just always have a hard time against, some you don't,” Lars Eller said. “I don't even know what it is, but for whatever reason we always seem to find a way to play well against these guys.”
Here is a look at some of the underlying numbers behind Washington’s win streak.
The Caps are 13-0-0 in their last 13 meetings with the Bruins. Four of those wins were shutouts, two were in overtime and one was in a shootout.
Washington outscored Boston 48-19 in those 13 games. The power play scored at a rate of 27.9-percent while the penalty kill killed off 81.4-percent of the Bruins’ power play opportunities.
In those 13 games, Nicklas Backstrom is Washington’s leading scorer with 18 points (three goals, 15 assists). Evgeny Kuznetsov is second with 15 points (four goals, 11 assists), followed by Ovechkin (eight goals, five assists).
Boston’s leading scorers are the top line for Thursday’s game: Patrice Bergeron (four goals, three assists), David Pastrnak (three goals, four assists) and Brad Marchand (two goals, five assists) all of whom have seven points.
Braden Holtby started 11 of those 13 wins and registered a .950 save percentage, 1.53 GAA and all four shutouts. Philipp Grubauer had the other two starts for Washington. For his career, Holtby has 15 wins in 17 appearances against the Bruins, tied for the second most wins he has against any team.
Tuukka Rask has appeared in 11 of those 13 losses to Washington. His record is 0-8-0 with a .877 save percentage and 3.50 GAA. His career numbers against the Caps aren’t much better. In 18 appearances, Rask is 1-11-5 with a .883 save percentage and 3.30 GAA, the second worst save percentage and GAA he has against any team.
The last time Washington lost to Boston was March 29, 2014. Jarome Iginla scored twice for the Bruins including the game-winner. Adam Oates was the coach of the Caps at the time. Barry Trotz did not lose a single game to Boston over the course of his entire tenure as Washington’s head coach
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