For the second game in a row, the Boston Bruins got themselves out of a, 3-0, deficit only this time they just kept scoring and beat the Washington Capitals, 5-3, in regulation at Capital One Arena Monday night.
David Pastrnak recorded a pair of goals and the B’s notched five unanswered– including four goals in the third period alone– en route to the victory.
Bruins goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (3-0-1, 1.72 goals against average, .923 save percentage in four games played), made 23 saves on 26 shots faced for an .885 SV% in the win.
Meanwhile, Capitals netminder, Vitek Vanecek (5-1-2, 2.94 GAA, .913 SV% in eight games played), stopped 28 out of 32 shots against for an .875 SV% in the loss.
Boston improved to 6-1-2 (14 points) on the season and remains in command of 3rd place in the MassMutual East Division, while Washington fell to 6-1-3 (15 points) overall and bounced out of their top spot for the division lead by the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Capitals are now 2nd by virtue of having one fewer regulation win than the Flyers. Washington has four this season, while Philadelphia has five.
The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body) on Monday, while Greg McKegg, Jack Studnicka, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Callum Booth and Dan Vladar all remained as healthy scratches and/or listed on Boston’s taxi squad.
B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, juggled his right wings from Saturday night’s, 4-3, loss in overtime to the Capitals to Monday night’s action– moving Craig Smith to the David Krejci’s right side on the second line and Chris Wagner to Charlie Coyle’s right side on the third line, while demoting Karson Kuhlman to the right side of the fourth line.
Cassidy made no other adjustments to his lineup.
Almost midway into the first frame, Bruins defender, Kevan Miller, was penalized for interference, yielding the game’s first power play opportunity to the Capitals at 8:18 of the first period.
Washington did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.
Moments later, the Capitals thought they had taken advantage of a momentum swing thanks to their successful penalty kill when it appeared that a shot from John Carlson had eyes and was redirected by Carl Hagelin into the twine behind Halak at 11:41, but Boston used their coach’s challenge on the grounds that the play entering the zone was offside.
After review, it was determined that Garnet Hathaway entered the offensive zone offside while the puck was mid-air at the blue line.
It was not in Hathaway’s immediate possession, as Miller had forced the puck to take flight on a poke check.
Had the Boston defender not gotten his stick on the puck, it’s likely the goal wouldn’t have been overturned as a result of an impressive move by the Washington forward in accordance with the new interpretation of “breaking the plane”.
Then again, who knows? What’s a catch, anyway?
Hagelin’s goal being discredited did not deter the Washington attack.
A couple minutes later, the Capitals won a faceoff in the offensive zone, worked the puck back to former Bruin defender, Zdeno Chara, and let the 6-foot-9 blue line wind up for one of his patented slap shots from the point.
Chara (2) sent a rocket low on Halak’s blocker side into the back of the net and gave the Caps the first official goal of the night at 13:26 of the first period.
Washington led, 1-0.
Hathaway (2) and Nic Dowd (2) had the assists.
It was Chara’s first goal against Boston since April 11, 2006, when he was then a member of the Ottawa Senators and scored two goals– including the game-winner– in a, 4-3, overtime victory for the Sens.
The Capitals grabbed a two-goal lead 11 seconds after Chara kicked off the night’s scoring when Daniel Sprong (2) worked his way in close and fired a shot through Halak’s five-hole.
Jakub Vrana (4) and Nick Jensen (2) tallied the assists on Sprong’s goal and Washington led, 2-0, at 13:37.
Late in the period, Jakub Zboril delivered a swift cross check to T.J. Oshie and promptly received a minor infraction at 18:23.
Washington’s power play would extend into the middle frame, but yield no change in the scoreboard.
After one period of play, the Capitals led, 2-0, on the scoreboard and, 15-8, in shots on goal.
The Caps also held the advantage in blocked shots (4-3), giveaways (4-0), hits (9-8) and faceoff win percentage (61-39).
Both teams had two takeaways aside, while Washington was 0/2 on the power play (Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage).
Oshie kicked off the middle frame with a holding penalty against Zboril– presenting the Bruins with their first taste of power play action at 3:07 of the second period.
About a minute later, Hathaway cut a rut to the penalty box on an automatic delay of game minor for clearing the puck over the glass at 4:09.
Boston had a 5-on-3 advantage for 58 seconds, but didn’t muster anything on the scoreboard in what was a failed power play operation.
Shortly after killing off both infractions, Washington went on the power play after Jeremy Lauzon hooked Tom Wilson at 7:19.
About a minute later, Carlson and Vrana setup a give-and-go through Wagner’s legs back to Carlson (4) whereby the Capitals defender waltzed into the slot before dragging and snapping a shot over Halak’s blocker side for a power-play goal.
Vrana (5) had the only assist on Carlson’s goal as Washington took a, 3-0, lead at 8:35 of the second period.
Less than a minute later, Boston couldn’t stop their bad habits as Krejci caught Trevor van Riemsdyk without the puck and received an interference minor at 9:03.
Washington did not convert on the ensuing power play, however.
Midway through the middle frame, the Bruins won a faceoff in the offensive zone before working the puck to Brad Marchand as Pastrnak setup in the bumper position.
Marchand fed Pastrnak (1) for the one-timer goal while Patrice Bergeron screened the Washington netminder to cut the Caps’ lead to two-goals.
Marchand (7) and Brandon Carlo (1) tabbed the assists on Pastrnak’s first goal of the season as the Bruins trailed, 3-1, at 12:37 of the second period.
Dowd promptly tripped Pastrnak at 13:51 and presented the B’s with a skater advantage, but Boston’s power play was powerless on Monday– despite getting creative at one point and utilizing a special teams unit comprised of only forwards.
Through 40 minutes of action in D.C., the Capitals led, 3-1, on the scoreboard and, 20-17, in shots on goal, despite Boston leading in second period shots alone, 9-5.
Washington also maintained the advantage in blocked shots (10-7), takeaways (5-3) and giveaways (7-0), while Boston led in hits (17-14).
The two clubs were 50-50 in faceoff win% after two periods.
Meanwhile, the Caps were 1/4 on the power play, while Boston was 0/3 on the night on the skater advantage.
Early in the final frame, the Bruins won an attacking zone faceoff whereby Boston’s defense worked the puck to Pastrnak for a quick wraparound from the dot to the circle on Vanecek’s right side before Pastrnak (2) unloaded a shot past the Washington goalie’s low blocker side.
The Bruins trailed by one as Zboril (2) and Charlie McAvoy (7) tallied the assists on Pastrnak’s second goal of the night.
Washington barely held onto a, 3-2, lead at 6:08 of the third period with more than enough time for the inevitable comeback.
Almost midway in the third, Trent Frederic and Wilson exchanged fisticuffs at 8:49, yielding fighting majors in what was a considerably favorable tradeoff for Boston.
Sure, the Bruins first year forward would miss at least the next five minutes, but Washington’s power-forward scorer in Wilson would also be off of the ice too.
The fight was just the second of Frederic’s young National Hockey League career (with his first coming back on Jan. 29, 2019, in his NHL debut against Brandon Tanev and the Winnipeg Jets), as well as just the second fight this season for Boston (previous, Kevan Miller vs. Miles Wood on Jan. 16th in New Jersey).
At 10:02 of the third period, Alex Ovechkin slashed Nick Ritchie and presented Boston with a power play that coincided with an already surging momentum swing in the Bruins’ favor.
Though the B’s did not score on the ensuing skater advantage, Boston caught Washington in the vulnerable minute after special teams action when Smith (3) one-timed a shot past Vanecek’s blocker side.
Lauzon (2) setup Smith with the primary assist on a backhand pass through the slot, while Ritchie (4) was credited with the secondary assist as the Bruins tied it, 3-3, at 13:07 of the third period.
A little more than four minutes later, the Bruins made good on the comeback– Carlo (2) blasted a one-timer past the Capitals netminder to give the B’s their first lead of the night, 4-3.
Sean Kuraly (1) and Wagner (1) each earned their first assist of the season on Carlo’s goal at 17:23.
With 1:38 remaining in regulation, Washington head coach, Peter Laviolette, used his timeout and pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.
Though the Caps drew up plans to try to tie the game, the B’s foiled them.
Krejci setup Marchand (6) with a lead pass through the neutral zone so that No. 63 in black and gold could hit the empty net and give Boston a two-goal lead.
Krejci (7) had the only assist on Marchand’s empty net goal at 18:34 and the Bruins led, 5-3.
Washington pulled their goalie again with about 35 seconds left, but it was to no avail as the clock ticked down to the final seconds, then “zero”.
Boston sealed the deal on the, 5-3, comeback victory– scoring five unanswered goals in what was just their sixth victory after overcoming a three-goal deficit in the regular season since 1995-96.
The Bruins finished Monday night’s effort leading in shots on goal, 33-26, including a, 16-6, advantage in the third period alone.
Boston also finished the night leading in hits (27-17), while Washington wrapped up Monday’s action with the advantage in blocked shots (19-8) and giveaways (11-2).
The teams finished the night 50-50 in faceoff win%, while the B’s went 0/4 and the Caps went 1/4 on the skater advantage.
The Bruins improved to 1-0-2 when trailing after the first period, 2-0-1 when trailing after the second period and 2-1-1 when allowing the game’s first goal this season.
They also became the first team to beat Washington in regulation this season.
Boston continues their four-game road trip (1-0-1) with a pair of games in Philadelphia against the Flyers on Wednesday and Friday before returning home to face the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.