The Bruins turned in a strong defensive effort to give Tuukka Rask his league-leading sixth shutout in a 3-0 win over the Capitals Thursday.
The win marked the first time the B’s have beaten Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby in the regular season. Holtby entered Thursday’s game 4-0-0 against the B’s in regular season play.
After the teams skated to a scoreless first period, Matt Bartkowski sent a nice pass during a delayed penalty to Patrice Bergeron, who fired a shot from the left circle that went off Gregory Campbell‘s stick and past Holtby. Campbell now has four goals in his last four games.
The B’s extended the lead to 2-0 later in the period on a Loui Eriksson goal. Eriksson was returning from a heel infection that had kept him out of Tuesday’s game. Brad Marchand sealed the game with an empty net goal in the third.
Rask had a relatively light night, facing only 14 shots and stopping them all. The Capitals registered 31 shots on goal when the teams met last Saturday.
Andrej Meszaros did not play for the B’s. He took part in Thursday’s morning skate and could play this weekend.
The Bruins will next travel to Florida, where they will face the Lightning Saturday and the Panthers Sunday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- In general, the team turned in a performance lightyears better than the first four games back from the Olympic break. The B’s possessed the puck, didn’t get hemmed in their zone and played a much tighter defensive game than they did during their initial post-Olympic struggles. Shot on goal aren’t always the most telling stat, but Rask only had to face eight shots over the first 40 minutes of play.
- Patrice Bergeron‘s line kept Alexander Ovechkin’s line awfully quiet, as Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera combined for just three shots on goal, with Ovechkin putting one puck on net and and Chimera registering two.
For the sake of comparison, Ovechkin himself had nine shots on goal last Saturday in Washington’s 4-2 win over the Bruins.
The one goal that the line nearly scored came against David Krejci‘s line, but Ovechkin missed the open net on the backhand with Rask out of position.
- The Bruins didn’t get burned by Washington’s highly skilled, highly productive power play. That’s because they stayed out of the penalty box. The Capitals had a pair of power play goals last Saturday against the B’s.
- It’s good to see Loui Eriksson scoring, and his second-period goal was a beauty. Camped out in front, Eriksson took a feed from Soderberg from behind the net and found a small space to roof the puck over Holtby’s right shoulder. The goal was Eriksson’s seventh of the season, while the point was his third in his last two games (one goal, two assists).
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- The lack of power plays continues for the Bruins. After combining for just one power play Sunday vs. the Rangers and Tuesday vs. the Panthers, the B’s went without a man advantage Thursday. Campbell’s goal did come during a delayed penalty, but even one power play a game isn’t enough.
- Marchand threw a hit late in the first period that, while going unpenalized, was ill-advised. Well enough after Troy Brouwer had passed the puck out of the Washington zone, Marchand hit him from behind, causing some chatter between the players on the ice. Everyone knows Marchand’s deal, but when he gets bad calls against him based on reputation, that’s why.