Bruins Top Capitals, 4-3, On Goal With 45 Seconds Left; Kuznetsov Extends Point-Streak To Eight Games

Photo: Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Boston Bruins by a score of 4-3 at TD Garden on Thursday night. The loss and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 6-4 win over the Ottawa Senators put  the Capitals in the first wild card in the Eastern Conference (having played two more games than the Penguins) but are currently just one point behind second (but the Carolina Hurricanes have five games in hand) and three behind first. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 29 saves in the loss, his second straight start.

Capitals’ Lines at Bruins

Graphic: @Capitals

Right-wing Daniel Sprong came out of the lineup in favor of left-wing Axel Jonsson-Fjallby. With defenseman Dmitry Orlov unavailable, Martin Fehervary moved up a pairing while Matt Irwin did the same. Michal Kempny drew in on the third pairing.

Scratched: Sprong, LHD Dennis Cholowski

COVID-19 Protocol: RHD John Carlson (missed third straight game), LW Conor Sheary (fourth)

Injured: RW T.J. Oshie (lower-body, third), LW Anthony Mantha (shoulder, 31st)

Suspended: Orlov (first of two games)

First Period

After getting a puck around the end wall, center Evgeny Kuznetsov took a few steps, waited, and picked the top right corner on goaltender Linus Ullmark’s first shot against of the night to make it 1-0 Capitals 4:07 in. Kuznetsov extended his point streak to six games (two goals, seven points). The Capitals have scored the first goal in 29 of their 41 games this season, which is the most in the NHL.

Left-wing Taylor Hall’s pass got tangled in between Capitals defensemen Nick Jensen and Martin Fehervary and right-wing David Pastrnak tucked the puck into a wide open net 50 seconds later.

Bruins left-wing Anton Blidh did not return after taking a hard check from Capitals right-wing Tom Wilson with 4:37 left in the period.

The Capitals led 4-2 in takeaways, had two giveaways while the Bruins had five, and did not score on two power plays in the opening 20 minutes.

The Bruins led 10-5 in shots, 7-4 in blocked shots, 15-10 in hits, and won 61% of the draws in the first.

Second Period

Pastrnak went backhand-to-forehand and through the five-hole of Vanecek on a breakaway after getting a stretch pass from defenseman Matt Grzelyck to make it 2-1 Bruins at 8:37 on the power play.

Center Lars Eller pounced on a loose puck at the offensive blueline, skated to the left circle, and ripped one over the arm of Ullmark and under the crossbar to tie it with 3:48 to go in the period.

Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen and Bruins left-wing Brad Marchand both left the game with upper-body injuries and neither returned.

The Capitals led 29-20 in hits, 8-4 in takeaways, had six giveaways while the Bruins were credited with eight, and did not take advantage of four power plays through 40 minutes.

The Bruins led 20-11 in shots (including 10-6 in the second), won 58% of the faceoffs, and scored on their lone man advantage through two.

Each team blocked nine shots in the opening two periods.

Third Period

Kuznetsov’s stick deflected Bruins left-wing Jake DeBrusk’s dump-in of the puck towards the net from the goal-line at the front of the net to give the Bruins the 3-2 lead with 10:19 to go.

36 seconds later, center Nicklas Backstrom let a wrister go from the right circle  that slipped through the five-hole of Ullmark after Wilson forced the Bruins into turning the puck over behind the goal-line to tie it. The goal was Backstrom’s first of the season. Wilson extended his point streak to four games (three goals, five points).

Defenseman Charlie McAvoy ripped one from the slot blocker side after DeBrusk fed him from the half-wall to give the Bruins the lead with 45 seconds to go.

The Capitals led 36-27 in hits, 9-6 in takeaways, had seven giveaways while the Bruins were credited with nine, and did not take advantage of four power plays.

The Bruins led 33-17 in shots (including 13-6 in the third), won 55% of the faceoffs, 16-14 in blocked shots, and scored twice on three opportunities with the man advantage.

Next game: vs. Ottawa Senators on Saturday (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington in-market, ESPN+ out-of-market)

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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6 Responses to Bruins Top Capitals, 4-3, On Goal With 45 Seconds Left; Kuznetsov Extends Point-Streak To Eight Games

  1. Leslie says:

    Just read that after this game we have now slipped into the 1st Wild Card spot in the Eastern Division (which we topped earlier in the season) and are tied for 3rd in the Metropolitan Division (which we topped earlier in the season) but have 2 more games than other teams. This wasn’t a good loss to take:(

  2. steven says:

    With Pitt on a roll and the Caps having a terrible, anemic powerplay (it has been the same for what the past 16/17 years) maybe it is time to really consider looking towards the future and playing all the young players and trade players like Sprong if he is only going to sit in the box. Time to also dump salary and once again let the young players play and see what they can do. This team takes to many penalties, has no PP and has little to no secondary scoriing most nights. I truly think that they shot their wad in Oct, Nove and Dec and now maybe rather than being buyers they should be sellers and starting their rebuild.

  3. Billy says:

    Agreed! Love sone of the older players but Hags,Osh,Backstrom need to go. The rooks and Ovi carried us when the above players were hurt. Time to turn the page.

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