If that’s a playoff preview, then sign me up for a 7-gamer boys! The Capitals came into the Garden tonight going 4-1 in their last 5 and a 4-point lead in the division. Holding the Bruins without a shot on net until the 16:00 minute mark of the first period, the Caps hand the Bruins their first shootout loss of the year 2-1.
David Krecji and Matt Grzylcek were back in the lineup tonight as was newly acquired Jarred Tinordi (wearing a dusty #84). Chris Wagner and Anders Bjork got back on the ice, but Charlie Coyle has entered the COVID protocol so it isn’t all good news. The 1st and 4th lines remained static; but with Krecji back Cassidy rolled Craig Smith and Nick Ritchie as his wingers and had Jack Studnicka centering (his preferred position) Trent Frederic and Jake DeBrusk (much more on him later).
The Caps hemmed in the Bruins in the first, holding them to 2 shots on net (no, that’s not a typo) and 9 shots total through the first 2 periods (19 shots for the game, the Bruins lowest number of the year). The Caps struck first, but the goal was challenged for offside and (shockingly) overturned. Kudos to the Bruins video team because based on the replays NBCSN showed, there was no way to tell that the Caps player was off.
The Bruins came out for the 2nd with noticeably more jump and it translated to more offensive chances as the teams ramped up their physical play. Better to be the hitter than the hittee seemed to be the mindset for both teams as the game started to edge into the nasty type vibe usually reserved for playoffs. No penalties and no scoring in the second as they headed to the final frame with goose eggs across the board.
David Pastrnak got the Bruins on the board a few minutes into the 3rd when Brad Marchand picked off Carlson at the Bruins blue line and carried the puck into the Caps zone. Coming down the left wing, he found Pasta in the slot who redirected the puck 5 hole on Vanecek. That lead held until a bad Sean Kuraly outlet pass about 5 minutes later led to Eller tying the game at 1. Not all Kuraly’s fault as Jakub Zboril left Eller untouched to put the rebound past Rask. That was all the scoring through the rest of the game and OT. In the shootout, Vrana came down on Rask with the wide serpentine route and went over Rask’s right leg for the goal. DeBrusk, Pasta and Marchy failed to get one past Vanecek and Big Zee wins his first game as a visiting player in Boston in more than 14 years.
A few words about DeBrusk: what the actual fuck does Bruce Cassidy and the coaching staff see in the this fucking plug that they keep putting him out there? If they’re playing him to get another team interested, it’s backfiring as he’s becoming a declining asset. It’s like a bizarro world choose your own adventure game with him but every choice fucking sucks. Every time he touches the puck the question is how will he make a negative play for the Bruins? Will he go offside? Will he shoot from 20+ feet out into the goalie’s chest with no screen? How about another unforced turnover, does that sound like fun? Maybe this time he’ll curl away from a body check, or change on the backcheck LIKE HE DID TWO FUCKING TIMES IN OVERTIME both leading to odd man rushes!! By all accounts he’s a great kid and his teammates love him, but I bet they’d love him more if he was in a suit for Friday’s game.
- Good to see Krecji and Grz back. Both are key players if the Bruins want to go on a run.
- Tuukka Rask deserved better than 19 shots on net, 1 goal and 0 for 3 in the shootout. This game could’ve been over in the first period if it wasn’t for him. What about those saves in overtime! Holy shit he was the best player on the Bruins roster tonight.
- Love that the Bruins responded to the Caps physical play and gave as good as they got.
- The Bruins took the 1st period off. They didn’t even get set up in the Caps zone on the power play. Lackluster effort to start the game.
- Coyle being in COVID protocol scares the shit out of me. He may not even have it, but we’ve seen what the protocol can do to teams and the number of players being out.
- Bruins forwards weren’t defensively committed as they were for the last game. Need that effort every night in this shortened season.
- Pasta played in game #400 tonight
- To make tonight’s game, Tinordi drove 17 hours from Nashville. Think he wants a fresh start? Bet he goes with one of the Caps on Friday.
- My last post centered on Bergy and what kind of leader he is with his play and the example he sets. Tonight featured the polar opposite of that legend. Sure, Ovechkin can score, but what a fucking trash bag. It’s no wonder that scumbags like Wilson, Dillon and Hathaway run around trying to hurt people. Their captain is no better. After Freddie challenged him to a go (Ovi declined, but I won’t ding him for that, he’s still Ovi after all), and then came back at him later in the period to try him again, Ovechkin cup checked him. I mean, what a chicken shit move. Think of any captain in the NHL and see who else you could imagine doing that. Getzlaf? O’Reilly? Wheeler? No fucking way. Especially someone who’s 6’3″ and 240lbs! I’ve seen benders in beer league play with more honor than that. That’s a punk move and I’m hoping someone on the Caps roster pays for it on Friday when the go again.