The Washington Capitals headed off on the road to a place where they have had some success lately, TD Garden in Boston to face the Bruins. The Caps opened strong with a pair of first period goals. Boston halved the lead in the second, thanks to David Pastrnak, but Tom Wilson got his second of the game to restore the two-goal lead 70 seconds before the second intermission. Too many penalties in the third period gave the Bruins enough chances to finally close to within a goal. That would be as close as they would get.
Here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Tom Wilson. Neither of his goals was cheap. He snapped a shot from a difficult angle for one goal, and on the other, it was his high deflection of a rolling puck off the stick of Brooks Orpik that solved Tuukka Rask.
- Minus: Penalties in the third period. When holding a two goal lead, giving an opponent multiple man-advantage chances is just putting a match to gasoline.
Here are ten more notes on the game...
- Tom Wilson broke a nine-game streak without a goal to open the season when he whacked a high-degree-of-difficulty, severe angle shot behind Tuukka Rask in the first period. Then, Alex Ovechkin ended a five-game streak without a goal when he one-timed a pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov past Rask later in the first period.
- It was an otherwise dormant first period. The teams combined for just 22 shots attempts. Not shots on goal…shot attempts.
- When Chandler Stephenson was credited with an assist on the Wilson goal, it made three assists in his last two games.
- Wilson goal made him the 16th player to record a goal for the Caps this season, it coming in the team’s 14th game. Through 14 games last season, the Caps had 13 players with goals. When he got his second goal, it made it his first multi-goal game of his career. He also led the Caps in shots on goal with five. He became the seventh Capital to record a five-shot game this season.
- The Caps had several of breakaways that might have, well…broken the game open. Alex Ovechkin had one (he scored a goal moments later from his office), and Tom Wilson had a shorthanded breakaway that would have given him a hat trick for the contest. Lars Eller had a shorthanded break at the end of the same power play on which Wilson has his, but he was foiled by Rask.
- That shorthanded situation – a four-minute power play for the Bruins off a double-minor to Brooks Orpik for highsticking David Pastrnak – was key. Not just for this game (which it was) but for a penalty killing squad that has struggled for most of the season.
- The Caps were shorthanded for 7:07 of the third period. Until then, they did play that smart game, but four penalties and one power play goal against almost undid a lot of fine work.
- Madison Bowey finished a plus-3 for the Caps in 14 minutes and change of ice time. Brooks Orpik did the gritty thing with three hits and three blocked shots.
- Nicklas Backstrom deserves credit for quietly taking away a big part of the Bruins’ play. He was 7-for-11 against Patrice Bergeron in faceoffs, not a bad night against one of the premier practitioners in the league in that art. Now, if he can just get untracked offensively. With Wilson scoring a goal, Backstrom now has the longest goal drought for the club at seven games.
- And Braden Holtby had another strong game, allowing only two goals on 33 shots, 27-for-28 at even strength.
And now, this...