Postgame Notebook: Bruins 3, Capitals 1
Strength Against Strength –
On their first shift of the game, Alex Ovechkin
threaded a centering pass to linemate Mike Knuble
going to the net. The pass hopped over Knuble’s stick, and a prime opportunity to grab a 1-0 lead in the game’s first minute went by the wayside.
That sequence turned out to be the game in a microcosm. The Caps outplayed and outchanced the Bruins but came up on the short end of a 3-1 score, bringing Washington’s four-game winning streak to a halt.
“We had good chances to score goals but we didn’t,” laments Ovechkin. “They used two chances in the first period [to take a lead]. We made mistakes in our zone, I made a mistake and we had a mistake when they scored the first goal.”
The Bruins’ top line scored twice in the first period, both times when on the ice against the Caps’ top trio of Ovechkin, Knuble and Nicklas Backstrom
. David Krecji converted a 2-on-1 off a prefect feed from Nathan Horton, and Milan Lucic scored into a yawning cage on a broken play.
Boston made the most of its limited opportunities, grabbing that 2-0 lead with a pair of goals less than three minutes apart in the game’s first frame. Washington aided the visitors’ cause with a couple of defensive miscues.
“Krejci’s was a perfect shot, I thought,” says Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. “The other was an empty net when we didn’t take our man in front of the net.”
Washington had half a dozen prime scoring chances in the first period alone, but rolling and/or bouncing pucks led to the snuffing of at least two of those.
“I thought in the first 10 minutes we played as hard as we had played all year,” says Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. “Then you make a mistake and it’s in the net.”
The Bruins kept Ovechkin and company in check; the Caps’ captain had just one shot on goal and had six blocked by the Boston defense through the game’s first 40 minutes.
“Sometimes you have tougher nights than others,” says Boudreau. “I thought [Ovechkin’s] effort was there. I just didn’t things were going well for that whole line. I thought Krejci’s line outplayed them. They bottled them in. I was trying to maneuver them away from them. I eventually switched the lines up.
“Sometimes you have games like that.”
Boudreau even put Ovechkin back on the blueline to try to give him more space to pull the trigger. Ovechkin managed to get four shots on goal in the third, but to no avail.
“I thought, ‘If he’s being checked that close, then maybe this will give him a little bit of room for some shots,” explains Boudreau.
Washington finished the night with 36 shots on goal – launching half of them in the third period – and just 21 shots against. Both totals represented single-game bests for the Capitals in 2010-11.
“We had a tough game,” states Boudreau. “I thought we outplayed them pretty good for the most part. They were opportunistic. And we get a chance to play them again on Thursday [in Boston].”
Tonight’s win was Boston’s first in regulation at Verizon Center since Jan. 23, 2006.
Under The Weather –
Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth
left the game just 45 seconds after the second Boston goal. Neuvirth went directly to the Washington locker room and was not accompanied by any team staff.
After the conclusion of the first period, the Caps announced that Neuvirth left the game because of the flu.
“After the second goal,” explains Boudreau, “he complaied of dizziness and a headache. So the next whistle he came off.
“That’s the first I knew about it. If he wasn’t feeling good, we wouldn’t have started him. But we had no indication. He was feeling fine after the pre-game warm-up.”
Neuvirth became the first Caps goalie to start six straight games at the start of the season since Olie Kolzig started the first nine games of 1999-00. Had Neuvirth been able to finish the game, he would have been the first goaltender in franchise history to start and go the distance in each of the team’s first half dozen games of the season.
“As a competitor, he thinks he is going to be able to fight his way through it,” says Boudreau. “And then it probably got worse as the stress got going during the course of the game.”
came in cold and saw his first action since he played the first half of Washington’s first pre-season game, a Sept. 22 game at Columbus. He stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced, giving up a goal on a Matt Hunwick blueline floater early in the third.
“He did a great job,” says Boudreau of Varlamov. “The goal that went in, he couldn’t see.”
Neuvirth’s 10-game Verizon Center winning streak came to an end tonight.
Classic Killers –
For the sixth straight game, Washington’s penalty killing outfit was perfect. Boston went 0-for-4 on the power play in Tuesday’s game. The Bruins had the man advantage for 7:07, including a 53-second stretch during which they enjoyed a two-man advantage.
The Capitals permitted just two shots on goal during the seven-plus minutes in which the B’s had the manpower advantage.
Washington is now 25-for-25 on the penalty kill this season.
In the NHL’s expansion era (1967 to date), only one team – the 2008-09 Minnesota Wild – has begun a season by not allowing a power play goal in its first seven games.
No. 1 for No. 90 –
Caps rookie center Marcus Johansson
netted the first goal of his NHL career tonight, doing so in his sixth game in the league. Jason Chimera
and Matt Hendricks
recorded the helpers on Johansson’s maiden tally.
Draw Man – Brooks Laich
won all three face-offs he took tonight and is now 13-for-20 (65%) on the season. That winning pct. is best on the team.
Tangled Up In You –
The Caps’ Matt Hendricks
and Boston’s Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves and went at it the first time the hit the ice tonight, at 3:15 of the first period. That’s a full 3:13 longer than it took for the two to tangle the last time these two teams met, in a Sept. 29 pre-season game in Boston.
Early in the second period, Campbell tripped Hendricks. The Boston center went to the box for two minutes for that infraction.
With just 1:20 left in the game, Campbell high-sticked Hendricks, drawing a double-minor in the process.
Last In The First –
Boston’s first-period goals in Tuesday’s game were its first in the game’s initial frame this season. The B’s were the last NHL team to have a goose egg in first-period goals in 2010-11.
Got The Gordie –
Boston's Lucic notched a Gordie Howe hat trick, collecting a secondary assist on Krejci's goal and getting into a third-period fight with Washington's John Erskine
By The Numbers – Alexander Semin
paced the Caps with 10 shots on goal … The Caps outhit the B’s 33-23 on the night. Erskine led the way with seven; six of those came in the game’s first period. Ovechkin had six hits … John Carlson
led the Caps with three blocked shots. Mark Stuart paced the Bruins with four ... The Caps now have seven fighting majors in six game and are more than a third of the way to matching last season's total of 20.
|Three star selections