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The Capitals traveled to Boston, Massachusetts late Friday night after suffering a three to two setback at the hands of the New York Rangers. The home team jumped on their visitors with an early goal but Washington battled back to earn a point through regulation play. From there it was all Matt Niskanen, blasting a slap shot from the point home for the game winning goal.
First up here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Evgeny Kuznetsov (despite being held off the scoresheet) registered a team high seven shots on goal. Having the luxury of both pass and shoot first franchise centers is a definite spoil of riches.
- Minus: The Capitals were whistled for 16 minutes in penalties including two majors and yet another too many men on the ice minor. This is not sustainable moving forward.
Nine more notes on the game.
- #1A goaltender Philipp Grubauer got his second start in four nights from Barry Trotz and made 33 saves in a busy outing backing up Holtby on the road. He was especially good in extra time, making three big stops.
- Patrice Bergeron got the scoring started with his 26th goal of the season that came rather easily thanks to a deft turnaround pass from Brad Marchand. With Grubauer's attention focused on Marchard the quick pass afforded Bergeron a five footer he wouldn't miss.
- Adam McQuaid and Tom Wilson dropped the mitts at center ice in the first period that had the home crowd on their feet. McQuaid got his right hand free and with a bit of leverage got swinging at Wilson, but the young Washington forward did a good job of protecting himself before bowing out.
- Boston began the second period by putting the puck into the net for the second time, this one coming off a Torey Krug shot that bested Grubauer glove hand side. However, a clearly lifted Loui Eriksson leg over the blue line caused the Bruins' zone entry to be offside, and Trotz's challenge overturned the ruling on the ice. No goal.
- Five minutes into the second frame Alex Ovechkin flattened Kevan Miller with a hit from behind that warranted all five minutes of the major assessed to Washington's captain. Miller was down on the ice for a minute while chaos ensured over him before getting up and heading down the tunnel to the locker room for evaluation. Miller would not return to the contest.
- The situation was made even worse when Wilson was sent to the box for interference but the Capitals killed off all two minutes of the two man advantage and the remainder of Ovechkin's major.
- The great penalty killing work translated into Washington getting on the scoreboard thanks to a Karl Alzner shovel of the puck past Tuukka Rask from the bottom of the slot. Similar to Boston's first goal it was created by a fantastic pass, this one coming off of the stick of Nicklas Backstrom (natch).
- With three skaters aside Niskanen completed the comeback in overtime and the season's sweep of Boston by firing home his 5th goal of the year from atop the right circle. The quickly developed scoring play would silence the crowd and put the Capitals at 100 standings points through 65 games.
- Newcomer Daniel Winnik was the best Washington forward in the game's first half, with due respect paid to his fourth line mates. He was involved early and often in the offensive zone and throughout the night he performed as advertised in his 12 and a half minutes of ice time.