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Capitals vs Bruins Recap: Backstrom Writes His Name in the History Books, Caps Win

On the back of a strong performance from Braden Holtby, and with offense generated from the blueliners (with a little help from the greatest Cap helper of all time), the Caps earn a big win against an important foe.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Having won six of their last nine against the Bruins, but dropping six of their last ten games overall, the Caps took the ice against the brusiers from Boston looking to reclaim their stake to the first wildcard spot. And they succeeded, in no small part from a big outing from Braden Holtby, and an historic one from their offensive lynchpin.

Check back for our full recap later, but first, here's Sunday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Well, Nicklas Backstrom became the all-time franchise assist leader, so there's that, which is freaking awesome. It's so easy to take for granted having such an incredible player at top line pivot night in and night out. This is a wonderful and well-deserved milestone for Nicklas Backstrom, whose list of accomplishments will hopefully only continue to grow.
  • Minus: That Chris Conner gets a sweater in meaningful Springtime hockey games and Andre Burakovsky does not.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

  • Even despite their lackluster play of late, the Caps are in good position to extend their season into the spring. And with the New York Rangers looking more and more likely to be #1 seeds in the Eastern Conference, tonight's matchup for the first wildcard slotting was important for those with hopes of avoiding a first round matchup against the Blueshirts. With tonight's win, the Caps did their part to avoid that all-too-familiar first round matchup, and for the time being, the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthera are more the Bruins' problem than their own.
  • No Orpik, no problem for the Caps d-corps tonight. The redshirted blueliners provided two red-lights worth of offense, as well as positive possession numbers across the board against an imposing forwards corps on a red-hot team. With the arrival of Gleason, and with Schmidt healthy, Todd Reirden is going to have a diversity of talent at his disposal for the playoffs.
  • Tom Wilson started the game on the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, and got right to work doing what he does: drawing penalties. After Wilson leveled Ryan Spooner in the middle of the ice, Brad Marchand took offense and earned a roughing minor...upon which the Caps opened the scoring. He then added the primary helper on Nate Schmidt's blast from the point. Not a bad night up top from Willy-baby.
  • In his first game as a Washington Capital, Chris Conner had a somewhat eventful first period, forcing a rough turnover in the offensive zone, and then firing a good chance onto Rask for his first SOG as a Cap, and then taking a bad tripping penalty in the offensive zone as the period neared its end. He then took another penalty, this one high sticking, at the beginning of the second. Andre Burakovsky probably would have played worse though. Yeah, totally.
  • It took the Caps 4:45 to put 10 pucks on Tuuka Rask tonight. It took them 23:29 to achieve that same mark on Friday. And as if that's not amazing enough, Alex Ovechkin took exactly none of those ten shots.
  • Nicklas Backstrom became the Washington Capitals all-time assist leader when he assisted on John Carlson's power play goal in the first period. I could write extensively on the tremendous importance of Nicklas Backstrom to this team, but you read this site and so you already know. Way to go, Nicky. You the man.
  • And on that franchise mark from Backstrom, John Carlson set a personal mark of his own, as his 11th goal of the season sets a personal best for Captain America. Carly's big season keeps on keepin' on.
  • You've been hearing it all year, right? "O from the D". Tonight was no exception, with Nate Schmidt joining partner John Carlson amongst tonight's goal scorers. The pairing of Schmidt and Carlson proved effective as well, as those two puck movers combined for some gaudy possession numbers as well— which is no anomaly for Carlson during the minutes he's able to get away from Orpik.
  • Admit it, after the cameras trailed Alex Ovechkin heading to the locker room after taking a puck about two inches north of his love spuds, then struggling to remove himself from the ice, your heart was lodged firmly in your throat. Thankfully Ovi didn't miss so much as a shift out there, but put those few moments up there in the running for scariest seconds of the season.
  • Braden Holtby just keeps on trucking. Holtby made the big saves that he's been making all year, was the Capitals best penalty killer (maybe Chris Conner can buy him a beer or a pasta salad or something before trudging back to Hershey), and earned a 31 save goose egg, his eight shutout of the season— doubling his previous career high of four. Not a bad response to Friday night's dud.
  • That's a great home win for the boys in red, trying to right the ship before guiding into the springtime harbor— and against a team that's right there with them, anchoring the playoff picture. With games upcoming against Buffalo, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, you'd sure like to see them use this one as a launching pad for a nice little stretch.

    Game highlights: