Boston Bruins: Disappointment with a Capital D in Washington

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 28: Alex Ovechkin /

After being up 2-0 before most fans even sat down, the Boston Bruins lost to the Capitals in the shootout, 4-3.

To any fan, this game should have been in hand by the end of the second period. Boston Bruins third liners Danton Heinen and David Backes scored mere seconds from each other in the first period, catching the Washington Capitals flat footed with their aggressive play and tempo. However, as a young team does typically, they let their foot off the gas in the second, and lost the game after a shootout, where Alex Ovechkin did what he usually does: score.

First Period

Ah, yes. The only period that saw me with a smile on my face watching on national television. Recently, the line of Heinen, Backes, and Riley Nash has been incredible. They’ve taken on big minutes, and shown nothing but results in return. In the last eight games, the line has a combined 10 goals and 25 points, per WEEI’s Ty Anderson.

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Heinen has been a points monster, and continued with a goal and assist early in the first on Thursday night, the latter coming on a finally healthy David Backes one timer. This play saw the B’s in the drivers seat for the rest of the game, but had problems with the throttle as the next period rolled around.

Second Period

The Bruins completely whiffed on something that the team has been historically good with.  In the second period, the Caps brought the puck into the zone, and after a scramble for the puck, Lars Eller fired the puck passed Khudobin.  However, even the casual observer could see that the puck entered the zone offsides.  Cassidy and the staff failed to use the coach’s challenge, and suddenly it was 2-1.

Simple request:  can we stop leaving Ovechkin open from the left circle? Stop me if you’ve heard the words “Ovechkin buries the one-timer from the dot on the power play” before. Oh, this is a regular occurrence, that’s right.

In usual fashion, Ovechkin blew the puck by Khudobin, who after a stellar stretch, is now returning to the serviceable backup category.  With this goal, the Capitals tied a game that should have been long over. There was a clear difference in intensity from the first period from the B’s, one that defines a young team.

Third Period and beyond…

After some back and forth hockey, and bending without breaking, the Bruins broke through with a Backes goal, once again basking in the greatness of his line lately. Unfortunately, former Bruin Brett Connolly soon tied the game for Washington.  For some reason, THIS was the goal that Cassidy and the staff decided to challenge.  It went poorly, and cost the Bruins a 2 minute penalty.

After no more goals were score, the game moved to overtime.  As it goes with 3-on-3 overtime, there was a lot of action and scoring chances.  None of the chances developed into goals, and so the teams headed to a shootout. After stellar goaltending from Braden Holtby and Khudobin, the Great 8 put the puck bar-down on the Bruins backup, and the B’s left Capital One Arena with only one point instead of two.

Next: Bruins 3rd line has been key to success

The Road Ahead

After a day off, the Boston Bruins travel to Ottawa to take on the Senators for the second time in three games, and then to Brooklyn to face John Tavares and the New York Islanders. Look for the Bruins to continue developing down the stretch, especially with Tuukka Rask returning to his Vezina trophy winning form.