Bruins

BSJ Game Report: Capitals 4, Bruins 2 – Lack of execution dooms Boston in 14th-straight loss to Washington

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Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 4-2 loss against the Capitals  in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:

BOX SCORE

HEADLINES

B’s fail to solve Caps once again: If there was ever a team to put a halt to Boston’s five-game winning streak, it’d have to be the Capitals, right? The defending Stanley Cup champs were already going to be a tough challenge for the B’s at TD Garden, but add in their recent history — and the odds managed to tilt even further in Washington’s favor. Boston fared much better than the 7-0 shellacking its received at the hands of Washington back on Opening Night, but an overall lack of execution — whether it be on the power play or in the minutes after the B’s managed to put one past Braden Holtby — led to the Bruins’ 14th consecutive loss to the Capitals. To put it in perspective, the last time the Bruins managed to beat the Capitals (March 29, 2014), Rajon Rondo was still on the Celtics, Grady Sizemore was looking to lock in on a spot on the Red Sox’ roster and Jimmy Garoppolo was still a few months away from getting drafted by the Patriots. Yikes.

Bruins can’t cash in on numerous chances: While Boston held an overwhelming edge in shots on goal with a plus-19 differential, the Capitals made the most of their chances, lighting the lamp three times on just 22 shots. Despite getting out-attempted, 28-7, in the opening frame, Washington still entered the first intermission with the lead — with a great feed from T.J. Oshie springing Jakub Vrana for a breakaway tally.  The final 40 minutes of regulation saw Washington counter whenever the Bruins managed to land a punch — with both Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom managing to score the tying and go-ahead goals just 39 seconds and 1:09, respectively, after both Ryan Donato and David Krejci scored. Tough to win a game with backbreakers like that, even with so many possession stats tilted in your favor.

TWO UP

Ryan Donato: After barely clocking over 10 minutes of ice time and firing zero shots on goal in a blowout win over the Wild on Tuesday, Donato made the most of his minutes on Thursday, wristing a puck past Holtby at 14:11 in the second period and landing seven shots on goal. As a whole, the “Kid Line” was strong on Thursday, with Donato and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson generating a Corsi-For Percentage of 78.95 over 8:43 of 5v5 ice time.

Penalty kill: Lifted by some deadly weapons on the man advantage in Ovechkin, John Carlson, etc., the Capitals can put a game away in a hurry thanks to their 10th-ranked power-play unit. However, the B’s managed to keep them in check on Thursday thanks to a PK unit that has now killed off 17 straight penalties. Going back the last 13 games, Boston’s PK has now negated 34 of 36 penalties. 

THREE DOWN

Jaroslav Halak: While the Capitals were outshot by 19 on the night, Washington still managed to generate 12 high-danger scoring chances on the night, edging the Bruins’ 11. In a third period that saw the ice open up a bit for both sides, Halak largely succeeded in keeping Washington off the board.

Well, except for this sequence. He’s really going to want this goal back against Nicklas Backstrom.

Krug-Moore pairing: As a whole, the Krug-Moore duo was on the right side of multiple possession stats in Thursday’s game, including attempts (14-4) and shots for (9-2). However, they were also out for a rough opening tally in favor of the Caps. Now, to be fair, it was a great feed from Oshie, but it’s never good when a forward (Vrana) is able to slip behind your entire blue line with ease.

Power play: Krejci’s slap shot might have tied things up in the third period, but as a whole, Boston’s top power-play unit was off for most of the night, with pucks failing to land on sticks and the Capitals able to clear many attempts before Boston was able to get the puck deep. Finishing 1-for-5 on the night, another strike on the man advantage would have a welcome sight against a goalie that has largely owned the Bruins in Holtby.

PLAY OF THE GAME

PARTING THOUGHT:

Not the result the Bruins were looking for in this one, but it should be another entertaining, physical battle when these clubs meet once again on Feb. 3 in D.C.

LOOKING AHEAD

With their four-game homestand in the rearview, the Bruins will head up north to Toronto for their last regular-season meeting with the Maple Leafs on Saturday. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. Going into the contest, the Bruins trail the Leafs by four points in the Atlantic.