Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Krejci each had a pair of goals in a, 6-3, win for the Boston Bruins over the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.
A pair of milestones were met for both the team (21,000 goals) and Marchand (700 career points) as Tuukka Rask (10-4-2, 2.36 goals-against average, .910 save percentage in 17 games played) made 30 saves on 33 shots against for Boston en route to the win.
Washington goaltender, Vitek Vanecek (17-9-3, 2.77 goals-against average, .908 save percentage in 31 games played) stopped 22 out of 27 shots faced in the loss.
The Bruins improved to 25-12-6 (56 points) and remained in command of 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Capitals fell to 29-12-4 (62 points) overall and in command of the division lead.
Boston also improved to 4-1-2 against Washington this season with the win.
The Bruins were without Ondrej Kase (upper body), John Moore (hip), Brandon Carlo (upper body), Trent Frederic (non-COVID protocol related illness), Matt Grzelcyk (upper body), Kevan Miller (undisclosed), Jakub Zboril (non-COVID protocol related illness) and Jaroslav Halak (COVID protocol) on Sunday.
Grzelcyk may travel with the team this week as the B’s hit the road, while Miller remains day-to-day and Halak could rejoin the group on Monday at practice.
Head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made one lineup change on defense with Zboril out due to an illness, Jarred Tinordi took Zboril’s spot on the third defensive pairing for Boston.
Frederic, Carlo, Moore, Kase, Halak, Grzelcyk, Jack Ahcan, Zboril, Callum Booth, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman and Miller were on the long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and/or injured players for Boston on Sunday, while Dan Vladar was reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Saturday.
Ahcan had been reassigned to Providence, but was recalled to the taxi squad on Saturday ahead of Sunday afternoon’s matinée matchup with Washington.
The Capitals were without Zdeno Chara (lower body) after he blocked a shot in Saturday’s, 6-3, win in Philadelphia against the Flyers. The former Bruins captain received a standing ovation from the TD Garden crowd in his first game back in Boston with fans on April 11th.
Dmitry Orlov hooked Marchand 35 seconds into the action Sunday afternoon, presenting the Bruins with the game’s first power play.
Boston did not convert on the skater advantage, however.
Midway through the opening frame, Connor Clifton caught Lars Eller with a high stick that resulted in a four-minute double minor infraction. Washington had an extended power play at 8:53 of the first period as a result.
Late in the penalty kill, the Bruins worked the puck out of their own zone, whereby Capitals defender, John Carlson, went to battle along the endboards with Marchand for possession.
Marchand got just enough of a touch on the puck as Carlson chipped it off of the Bruins winger’s stick prior to the rubber biscuit deflecting to an open space in the slot whereby Bergeron (17) scooped it up and pulled it to his backhand for a shot that beat Vanecek and gave Boston the game’s first goal.
Marchand (30) had the only assist Bergeron’s shorthanded goal as the Bruins pulled ahead, 1-0, at 12:02 of the first period on their eighth shorthanded goal this season– tying the Montreal Canadiens for the most in 2020-21.
Less than a couple minutes later, Krejci (4) received a pass through the low slot and one-timed a shot past Vanecek after Craig Smith and Clifton did a tremendous job working the puck low into the zone, then over to No. 46 in black and gold.
Clifton (6) and Smith (16) tallied the assists on Krejci’s goal as the Bruins took a, 2-0, lead at 13:56.
Late in the period, Mike Reilly got beat while pinching at the blue line, thus leaving Charlie McAvoy as the lone B’s defender in his own zone, whereby Nicklas Backstrom waltzed around the young Boston skater with a deke before getting a shot on Rask.
T.J. Oshie (15) scored on the rebound to cut Boston’s lead in half and get the Capitals on the board, 2-1.
Backstrom (32) had the only assist on the goal at 19:50.
After the horn to signify the end of the first period, Garnet Hathaway delivered a late check on Jeremy Lauzon along the boards.
The Bruins did not take kindly to Hathaway’s rejection of the unwritten “code” and a scrum ensued.
Nic Dowd and Curtis Lazar each received roughing minors as a result, yielding penalties at 20:00 of the first period and a pair of minutes at 4-on-4 to start the middle frame.
Entering the first intermission, the B’s led, 2-1, on the scoreboard, despite trailing the Capitals, 14-10, in shots on goal.
Washington held the advantage in blocked shots (4-3) and hits (16-13), while Boston led in takeaways (4-3) and faceoff win percentage (72-28) after one period.
Both teams had one giveaway each, while the Caps were 0/2 and the Bruins were 0/1 on the power play heading into the second period.
Clifton caught Conor Sheary with a high stick at 2:53 of the second period and presented the Capitals with an extended power play as a result of Sheary going down to the ice with an injury, resulting in a double-minor infraction for the young Bruins defender.
Washington capitalized on the ensuing power play as Backstrom dished a pass to Evgeny Kuznetsov behind the net for the setup to Oshie (16) for a one-timer over Rask’s glove on the short side– tying the game, 2-2, in the process.
Kuznetsov (17) and Backstrom (33) had the assists on Oshie’s second goal of the afternoon– and a power-play goal at that– at 3:48 of the second period.
About a minute later, Anthony Mantha (15) scored on a catch and release shot past Rask’s stick side while the Caps had a net front presence to screen the Bruins goaltender.
Orlov (8) and Eller (14) had the assists on Mantha’s power-play goal as the Capitals took the lead for the first time Sunday afternoon, 3-2, at 4:54.
The Bruins didn’t take long to respond, however, as Marchand (22) was fed a pass from David Pastrnak and beat Vanecek with a backhand shot to tie the game, 3-3, at 6:33.
Pastrnak (19) and Bergeron (22) had the assists on Marchand’s first goal of the game.
Midway through the period, Hathaway was assessed a holding minor at 13:55 and the B’s went on the power play as a result. Boston did not score on the resulting power play, however.
The Bruins caught the Capitals in the vulnerable minute after a skater advantage, though, as Krejci (5) received a pass and held the puck long enough for Orlov to dive and slide away before sending a quick shot over Vanecek’s glove side.
Smith (17) and Taylor Hall (18) notched the assists on Krejci’s second goal of the afternoon and the Bruins led, 4-3, at 16:02 of the second period.
About a minute later, Bergeron (18) had his second goal of the game on a one-timer from Pastrnak to give Boston another two-goal lead, 5-3, at 17:45.
Pastrnak (20) and Marchand (31) had the assists on the Bergeron’s goal, which marked the 21,000th goal in franchise history.
Late in the period, Rask had a broken stick and was playing with about half of a paddle and blade (goaltenders are allowed to play with a broken stick, for the record), which led to Reilly hooking Oshie to prevent Washington from establishing an attacking zone presence.
In the process, Reilly received a hooking minor and presented the Caps with a power play at 19:47 that would carry over into the final frame of regulation.
Through 40 minutes of play on Sunday, the Bruins led the Capitals, 5-3, on the scoreboard, despite trailing, 25-20, in shots on goal, including an, 11-10, advantage for Washington in the second period alone.
The Caps held the advantage in hits (25-21), while the B’s led in takeaways (7-6) and faceoff win% (62-39).
Both teams had six blocked shots and two giveaways each, while the Capitals were 2/5 and the Bruins were 0/2 on the power play heading into the final frame.
Tom Wilson caught Sean Kuraly while he was falling with a late hit that left Kuraly stunned and slow to get off the ice. There was no penalty on the play, similar to when Wilson knocked Carlo out of contention with a blindside hit on March 5th.
Carlo has missed 20 games since, despite appearing in one game on April 1st against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a, 4-1, loss.
Tinordi was the only player heading to the penalty box for roughing Wilson in response to his hit on Kuraly on Saturday. Washington went on the power play at 5:52 of the third period, but did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.
Shortly thereafter, Hathaway boarded Tinordi– cutting the Bruins defender open in the process as his visor smacked the boards first.
Initially, there was no call, nor a whistle for Tinordi while he bled out on the ice.
Divine intervention from the NHL’s office in Toronto, however, delivered a five-minute major penalty for boarding, as well as a match penalty for Hathaway– ending the Capitals forward’s afternoon early.
Boston went on the power play at 9:21 as Daniel Sprong skated to the sin bin to serve Hathaway’s major, but the B’s couldn’t muster anything past Washington’s penalty kill and Vanecek in the extended skater advantage.
With 2:18 remaining in the action, Capitals head coach, Peter Laviolette, pulled his netminder for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail.
Boston worked the puck free from their own zone, whereby Pastrnak hit Marchand with a pass through the neutral zone.
Marchand (23) looked to make a move to Bergeron for the hat trick, but settled for an empty net goal for himself at 18:16– assisted by Pastrnak (21) in the process and completing a four-point game for No. 63 in black and gold.
The empty net goal also marked the 700th career point for Marchand– becoming the ninth player in a Bruins uniform to record at least 700 points in franchise history in the process– as the B’s led, 6-3.
At the final horn, Boston had beaten Washington, 6-3, despite finishing the afternoon trailing in shots on goal, 33-28.
The Bruins finished Sunday’s action leading in blocked shots (12-9) and faceoff win% (55-46), while the Capitals ended the action leading in giveaways (6-2) and hits (33-28).
Washington finished the game 2/6 on the power play, while the B’s were 0/3 on the skater advantage.
Despite their lack of power play success on Sunday, the Bruins extended their winning streak to four games.
Boston also improved to 17-4-3 (9-0-2 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal, 14-0-2 (8-0-1 at home) when leading after the first period and 16-0-2 (11-0-2 at home) when leading after two periods this season.
Washington fell to 9-8-2 (4-4-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 4-8-1 (1-5-0 on the road) when trailing after one period and 2-9-0 (0-5-0 on the road) when losing after the second period in 2020-21.
After going 4-1-0 in their five-game homestand, the Bruins hit the road for the next five games including three stops in Buffalo and two stops in Pittsburgh before returning home to close out the month of April on the 29th against the Sabres.
Boston’s week ahead features stops in Buffalo on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday before heading to Pittsburgh next week.