What do you call an extremely ugly first period, a glorious second period, and some thrilling free hockey? Why, you call it Thursday night’s Caps-Bruins game, of course!
Here’s Thursday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: Washington’s special teams were the difference in this contest. The penalty kill answered the bell all 5-of-5 times it was called upon, and the power play struck oil when needed.
Minus: Lazy turnovers nearly sunk the Capitals, with uncharacteristically bad decision-making from typical stalwarts like Matt Niskanen and T.J. Oshie.
And now, this...
Ten more notes on the game:
1. The Capitals entered this contest riding the poopy doldrums of a three-game losing streak, and over 140 consecutive minutes of scoreless no-joy hockey, the second-longest such streak in franchise history. Could they snap their poor luck like inopportune twigs?
2. Speaking of going streaking, the Bruins are doing a little saber rattling of their own, winning five straight entering their Thursday night showdown with Washington. Indeed, the Bruins hadn’t lost since long before you’d opened your presents and were sorely disappointed at yet another Blender Ball exercise drink shaker and yes okay Dad I get it I have put on a few pounds but enough with the passive aggressive hints!
3. Once the puck was finally dropped and the eggnog safely stowed, things got off to a.....sub-optimal start. Just 83 seconds into the contest, John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov combined for an atrocious fumbling turnover behind the goal line. Boston’s David Backes found himself a juicy puck all alone in the slot, and beat Braden Holtby to make it 1-0 Bruins early on.
4. A mere 50 seconds later, Boston’s Noel Acciari potted home another terrible Washington turnover like a bad fern, staking the Bruins to a 2-0 lead after the first frame.
5. Whatever head coach Barry Trotz said to the boys in the locker room during the intermission, it worked, and I’d like to buy a bottle of it. The Caps came out swinging in the second, and Denmark’s Dude Lars Eller won a gritty puck battle that earned him a shot in the slot. Eller fired it home to pull the Caps within one, 2-1.
6. With six minutes left in the period and the Capitals on a power play, Captain America John Carlson decided, “Freedom needs to ring, now.” No. 74 showed a slapper, then instead slid a perfect pass to Ovechkin’s office, and Ovi smashed it home like he’s done so many times before, knotting the game 2-2 at the end of the second period.
7. With the game up for grabs, the third period kicked off and the Capitals said, “Oopsie.” T.J. Oshie, fresh out of the box after serving a minor penalty, promptly skated to the half boards and committed an atrocious turnover. David Backes, he of Caps’ fans laments of Oh God not him not again, gathered up the loose puck and fired it true, giving Boston a 3-2 lead late in the game.
8. BUT ALL WAS NOT LOST!!! The Capitals’ bottom six created a typhoon in front of Khudobin’s crease, and Brett “The Threat” Connolly tied the game 3-3 in the dying minutes.
9. Sixty minutes would not be enough, and the home town crowd was treated to a bit of free hockey courtesy of *Wes Johnson voice* overtimeeeeeeeeeeee!
10. And then, we all got to enjoy the thrilling skills competition known as the shootout! Alex Ovechkin was the only player to score, and the Capitals escaped with two points and a victory!
Boy, there’s no balm for a loosing stream like playing the Bruins, is there? The Caps are back in the win column, and will look forward to hosting the New Jersey Devils at home on Saturday.