Braden Holtby and the Washington Capitals came back to beat the Boston Bruins, 3-2, in a shootout on Saturday at TD Garden.
Holtby (10-1-3 record, 2.98 goals against average, .904 save percentage in 15 games played) is now 13-1-0 in his last 14 starts against Boston and made 21 saves on 23 shots against (.913 SV%) in the win for the Caps.
Jaroslav Halak (4-1-3, 2.57 GAA, .924 SV% in eight games played) stopped 42 out of 44 shots faced for a .955 SV% in the shootout loss.
Prior to puck drop, the Bruins held a moment of remembrance for Worcester firefighter, Jason Menard, who was killed while battling a fire on Wednesday.
Menard rescued a probationary firefighter and another member of his crew before a mayday was called around 1:32 in the morning after conditions worsened on the third floor of the three-decker building.
Before tonight’s game, we pause to remember the life of one of Worcester’s bravest, lieutenant Jason J. Menard. pic.twitter.com/MHyJ0N0xuD— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 17, 2019
The Bruins fell to 12-3-5 (29 points) on the season, but remain 1st in the Atlantic Division after the loss.
Meanwhile, Washington is still in command of 1st place in the Metropolitan Division with a 15-3-4 record and 34 points on the season so far.
Boston fell to 7-0-4 at home as a result of Saturday’s loss.
Steven Kampfer served as Boston’s only healthy scratch with Kevan Miller (knee), John Moore (shoulder), Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), David Backes (upper body), Jake DeBrusk (lower body), Brett Ritchie (upper body), Torey Krug (upper body) and Zach Senyshyn (lower body) out of the lineup due to injury.
Joining them in the press box Saturday night was Patrice Bergeron (lower body), who sustained some discomfort during Friday night’s matchup in Toronto.
As a result, Paul Carey was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL).
The 31-year-old center has 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 17 games with Providence this season and skated in his 100th career NHL game as a result of being recalled on Saturday.
Krug, in the meantime, was placed on the injured reserve on Saturday, despite skating earlier in the morning with Ritchie, DeBrusk and Moore.
Of the injured Bruins, Ritchie is the closest to returning to the lineup, according to B’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy.
Cassidy juggled his lines from Friday night to Saturday night thanks to Bergeron’s day-to-day status, moving David Krejci up to center the first line with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak as his wings, while reuniting Anders Bjork, Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen as a trio on the second line.
Boston’s usual fourth liners– Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner– were promoted to third line duties, while Trent Frederic, Par Lindholm and Carey comprised of the new fourth line for Saturday night’s action.
The defensive pairings remained the same from Friday night against the Maple Leafs to Saturday night against the Capitals.
Midway through the opening period, Pastrnak hooked Jakub Vrana and was sent to the penalty box. The Caps didn’t convert on the ensuing power play at 8:03 of the first period.
In the vulnerable minute after special teams play, Heinen worked the puck deep into Boston’s attacking zone, then sent a pass to Coyle (4) as Coyle crashed the net and redirected the puck through Holtby’s five-hole– giving the Bruins a, 1-0, lead at 11:32 of the first period.
Heinen (5) and Charlie McAvoy (5) notched the assists on the goal.
The goal extended Coyle’s current point streak to four games (a career-high).
Moments later, Travis Boyd (1) tipped in a shot from the point while standing in front of Halak, tying the game, 1-1, in the process.
John Carlson (24) and Brendan Leipsic (5) tallied the assists on Boyd’s goal at 14:27.
With less than a minute remaining in the opening frame, Radko Gudas hooked Marchand and was sent to the sin bin, leaving Washington shorthanded into the second period as Boston couldn’t score on the skater advantage before time expired in the first period.
After one period in Boston, the score was tied, 1-1, while the Capitals led in shots on goal, 18-9. It was the most shots allowed by the Bruins in the first period at any point this season, but the B’s led in blocked shots (4-0) and takeaways (4-3) to make up for it.
Washington also managed the advantage in giveaways (9-3), hits (13-11) and faceoff win percentage (72-28) entering the first intermission.
Both teams were 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.
The Capitals killed off the remainder of Gudas’ penalty early in the second period as things resumed at TD Garden.
Early in the period, McAvoy missed an empty net, sending the puck wide and off the endboards, whereby Pastrnak (17) gathered the carom and banked the puck into the twine to give Boston the lead, 2-1, at 3:30 of the second period.
McAvoy (6) and Krejci (9) picked up the assists on the goal as the Bruins surged out of the gate for the middle frame before falling back on a heavy defensive presence in their own zone for the remainder of the period.
About a minute later, Heinen hooked Leipsic and was sent to the box at 4:42.
Washington did not convert on the resulting skater advantage and responded with a penalty of their own midway through the period.
Holtby tripped up Carey as the Bruins forward skated by the crease, yielding a minor infraction for the Capitals goaltender that was served by Leipsic at 10:05.
With 16 seconds left in the period, Evgeny Kuznetsov cross checked McAvoy and was charged with a minor penalty at 19:44, meaning the B’s would still be on the power play into the third period if they couldn’t score by the end of the second period.
Boston didn’t score and carried their advantage into the third period as the Bruins led, 2-1, through 40 minutes of action Saturday night.
The Caps led in shots on goal, 30-15, after two periods– including a, 12-6, advantage in the second period alone– and held the advantage in takeaways (9-8), giveaways (11-9), hits (21-16) and faceoff win% (72-28), while the Bruins led in blocked shots (10-0).
Washington was 0/2 on the power play through two periods and Boston was 0/3 on the skater advantage in that same span.
Midway through the final frame of regulation, Tom Wilson tried to mix things up with McAvoy after each player had big hits in the third period.
Wilson grabbed hold of McAvoy’s stick– but was not penalized for holding the stick– and exchanged words with the young defender until Bruins captain, Zdeno Chara, skated over to offer his opinion on the subject matter– at which point, Wilson fell over and the two (Chara and Wilson) were assessed roughing minors at 13:59 of the third period.
The two teams survived 4-on-4 action unscathed for two minutes before returning to full strength.
With 1:22 left in the third period, Capitals head coach, Todd Reirden, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker and it was very effective.
T.J. Oshie (10) blasted a one-timer from the low slot over Halak’s glove side to tie the game, 2-2, at 19:01 of the third period.
Kuznetsov (11) and Nicklas Backstrom (13) had the assists on Oshie’s goal as Washington force overtime.
After regulation, the score was tied, 2-2, and the Caps led the B’s in shots on goal, 41-21– including an, 11-6, advantage for Washington in the third period alone.
Boston led in blocked shots (11-5), while Washington led in takeaways (14-12), giveaways (20-13), hits (28-23) and faceoff win% (66-34).
The Capitals finished the night 0/2 on the power play and the Bruins finished 0/3 on the skater advantage as there were no more penalties called after 60 minutes of play.
Kuznetsov, Carlson, Wilson, Coyle, Marchand and McAvoy were the starters in overtime for both teams as the two squads couldn’t get the job done in the five-minute allotted extra frame of 3-on-3 action.
Washington led in shots on goal, 3-2, in overtime alone, bringing their shot total advantage to, 44-23.
Boston finished the night leading in blocked shots (11-5), but trailing the Capitals in giveaways (20-15), hits (28-23) and faceoff win% (67-33).
In the shootout, the B’s elected to shoot second, yielding Oshie as the shootout’s first shooter for Washington.
Oshie skated his way in toward Halak and tried to fire one past the Bruins netminder’s glove, but Halak made the save.
Coyle followed up with Boston’s first attempt of the shootout and slid one through Holtby’s five-hole to give the Bruins a, 1-0, advantage after one shootout round.
Kuznetsov hit the post to the right of Halak and couldn’t muster the puck into the twine, leaving Pastrnak with the chance to win it as Boston’s second shooter.
Instead, Pastrnak went for the gaping five-hole that Holtby quickly squeezed his pads together to close after poking the puck off of Pastrnak’s stick and letting the rubber biscuit slide through his legs with just enough time to cover it comfortably.
Next up, Backstrom wired a shot into the back of the net on Halak’s glove side– keeping Washington’s shootout hopes alive.
With the game on his stick, Marchand tried to do exactly what every Bruin has done in just about every shootout attempt this season– aim for the five-hole.
Marchand was unsuccessful.
In the fourth round of the shootout, the Caps sent in their best shot– Alex Ovechkin.
Ovechkin tried to sneak it past Halak, low on his glove side, but the Boston goaltender dove in desperation and robbed the Washington captain– barely getting his glove around the puck before Ovechkin could sneak it over the goal line.
In response, Cassidy sent Krejci out to try to win the game with the last shot in the fourth round of the shootout.
But Krejci also opted for the predictable five-hole and did not score, leaving the fate of the game undecided.
Vrana opened the fifth round of the shootout with a toe-drag that left Halak doing the splits, which was just enough to let Vrana elevate the puck over Halak’s leg pads and into the net.
Boston had to score on their next shot or else the shootout (and the game) would be over.
As such, Wagner was presented the opportunity to extend the shootout, but he too, tried to go five-hole on Holtby, who didn’t face much pressure on the shot as the puck trickled through the crease and wide of the goalframe.
The Capitals had won.
Washington improved to 3-1 in shootouts this season, while Boston fell to 0-4 in such instances.
Holtby improved to 25-14 overall in shootouts in his career as Halak stumbled to 32-33 in shootouts.
The Bruins fell to 7-0-2 when leading after two periods this season and 10-2-3 when scoring the game’s first goal.
Boston travels to New Jersey to take on the Devils next Tuesday (Nov. 19th) before a two-game homestand against Buffalo (Nov. 21st) and Minnesota (Nov. 23rd).
The B’s close out November with back to back nights in Montreal (Nov. 26th) and Ottawa (Nov. 27th) before finishing the month at home against the New York Rangers in a Black Friday matinee on Nov. 29th.