Missing most of their forwards, defensemen, and No. 1 goalie in Tuukka Rask, the Bruins, with mainly a taxi squad, and the Providence Bruins roster, played the Caps right down to the final seconds in a 2-1 loss when Michael Raffl scored with three seconds left from a near-impossible angle on rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman.
The two teams will meet again Saturday night back in Washington in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Washington coach Peter Laviolette decided to play most of his top players against Bruce Cassidy’s taxi squad and American Hockey League East Division championship P-Bruins players.
Swayman stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced in the game and played well enough to win. Following the game, Cassidy confirmed what most people kind of figured, that Swayman will be Rask’s backup in the postseason. It appears that Jaroslav Halak’s tenure in Boston is all but over.
Bruins went toe-to-toe with the Capitals.
It did not appear that the younger Bruins were afraid of going up against the top Capitals players. Boston played a physical game and at times, you had to wonder as the game went along if Laviolette made the right decision in playing his top guys and risking injury, while the Black and Gold’s top players did not even get on the flight to Washington the night before and were resting in their homes Tuesday night.
Leaving his top players behind in Boston with nothing to play for was the right decision by Cassidy. The Bruins schedule has been compressed together this season and add in a COVID-19 shutdown that compressed the schedule, even more, the more rest they can get before the playoffs, the better.
Now the real season begins Saturday night for Boston against old friend Zdeno Chara and the Capitals. It should be fun.