The Bruins may have cost themselves a playoff spot with a brutal loss to the Capitals, getting shutout for the third time in three games this season versus Braden Holtby. The Caps goalie turned aside all 27 shots he faced.
The Capitals crushed the Bruins spirit early on in the game when John Carlson scored at 4:49 of the first period to put Washington up 1-0. Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson assisted Carlson’s 12th goal of the season.
Two minutes and 17 seconds later, Matt Niskanen’s shot from the point deflected off of Zach Trotman’s stick and past Tuukka Rask to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead. Backstrom and Troy Brouwer assisted on Niskanen’s fourth goal of the year, which game at the 7:06 mark.
Later in the first period, Zdeno Chara took a shot off of the same foot that he appeared to injure the other night, despite playing through it. He struggled to get back to the bench, although he remained in the game.
The first penalty of the game was called on Brett Connolly at 3:14 of the second period as the Bruins trailed 2-0. The Bruins took the only three penalties of the game, and two of them were courtesy of Connolly.
After the Bruins successfully killed off the penalty, the team had a surge for a large portion of the second period. Some example of Holtby’s significant saves include a stop on Loui Eriksson after he was set up by Brad Marchand.
Hotly also shut the door on Milan Lucic multiple times in the game, including a breakaway that resulted from a nice pass by Connolly.
David Pastrnak was also stopped by Holtby a number of times, including a strong play on the forecheck and a deflection in front of the net.
Although he gave up three goals, Tuukka Rask made several good saves of his own, keeping the Bruins in the game for as long as he could despite the defensive breakdowns and nonexistent offense. Rask made a total of 30 saves on 33 shots.
Despite the Bruins mounting scoring chances, the Capitals scored the only goal of the middle period. Marcus Johansson received a perfect pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov and scored his 20th goal of the season at 17:47 of the second period.
The third period was more of the same. The Bruins had several prime scoring opportunities, but were simply unable to beat Holtby. As they desperately tried to gain momentum, Torey Krug took a poorly timed penalty that forced the Bruins to dedicate two valuable minutes to killing off the penalty. All in all, there was nothing positive to see from the perspective of a Bruins fan.