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Capitals vs Bruins Recap: Boston Storms Back for 5-3 Win

Chara scores against his former team but the Caps blow a 3-0 lead and lose for the first time in regulation this season.

Boston Bruins v Washington Capitals Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

Happy Black History Month, Rink fam! February 1 brings us another game and another edition of That Sure Is A Lineup! Dmitry Orlov made his return to the Capitals’ blueline, bumping Jonas Siegenthaler out of the lineup. Lars Eller and Justin Schultz remain out of the lineup as well, and Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov are still on the NHL’s COVID protocol list. Enter...this:

T.J. Oshie is still centering the second line, and Jakub Vrana got demoted to the fourth line. How would these new (with the exception of the third line) combos fare against Jaroslav Halak and the Bruins? Let’s dive right in.

Here’s Monday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Washington’s penalty kill played well tonight, even though they had too many chances to do so. They limited Boston’s shots on the man-advantage well, despite sometimes having some of their better PK-ers in the box — through four power play opportunities, the Bruins only got three shots off.

Minus: The Caps blew a 3-0 lead for the third time in as many games. At home. Yikes.

And now, I regret to inform you that the Penguins social media was funny tonight:

Fourteen more notes on the game:

1. Miller went to the box for interference just over eight minutes into the first, and the league’s best power play unit got to work against the league’s second-best penalty kill. The Caps’ had about a minute of zone time during the man-advantage and tallied three shots on goal, but unfortunately could not convert on any of them.

2. It looked for a moment like Carl Hagelin — yes, Carl Hagelin — scored his first goal in approximately 86 billion years (or since March 5, 2020). However, the Bruins successfully challenged the play for an offside zone entry and the goal was overturned. Will Hagelin ever score again? Only time will tell...

3. Big Zee Revenge Tour! Oh yes, Zdeno Chara opened the scoring for the Capitals 13:26 into the first period with yet another Chara bomb from just below the blue line, set up nicely by Garnet Hathaway and Nic Dowd. Fun fact: this was Chara’s first goal against the Bruins in almost 15 years.

4. Daniel Sprong gave Washington the most dangerous lead in hockey a mere 11 seconds after Chara’s goal. Jakub Vrana made an excellent zone entry, and Sprong finished the play off with some fancy footwork and soft hands. Nick Jensen also picked up his second point of the season with the secondary assist on the play.

5. With 1:37 left in the first, defenseman Jakub Zboril was called for cross-checking on T.J. Oshie. The Caps were unable to convert, and just over three minutes into the second period Oshie flipped the script and was called for an offensive-zone holding penalty on Zboril. Then Garnet Hathaway sent the puck over the glass on the PK and took a seat for delay of game, giving the Bruins a 5-on-3 advantage for one minute. The Caps, however, held Boston to one shot during that two-man advantage and killed off the rest of Hathaway’s penalty once Oshie left the box. The Bruins had three total shots on the overlapping Washington penalties.

6. Tom Wilson and Jeremy Lauzon were battling for the puck in front of Halak and Lauzon was called for hooking, giving the Caps their third power play chance of the night. John Carlson absolutely roofed it over Halak’s right shoulder from between the faceoff circles for his fourth goal of the season. Jakub Vrana recorded the assist on the tally, and with his earlier assist on Sprong’s goal recorded his first multi-assist game of the season.

7. With 7:33 left in the second, David Pastrnak got his first goal of the season and cut the Capitals’ lead to two. The Bruins got an offensive-zone faceoff despite it looking like Brenden Dillon touched the puck and negated any offside or icing call, which would have sent the faceoff out to the neutral zone and allowed for a line change. Boston took advantage and Pastrnak fired the puck to the back of the net.

8. Nic Dowd took the Caps’ third trip to the box for tripping Pastrnak with 6:09 remaining in the second. The Bruins once again rolled out their five-forward power play unit, and the Capitals once again held them to zero shots on the man-advantage.

9. At 6:08 in the third period, Pastrnak, clearly making up for lost time, got his second goal of the night. Patrice Bergeron won an offensive-zone faceoff and it only took Pasta seven seconds to glide out into the slot and send the puck past Ilya Samsonov. Something that didn’t help: John Carlson absolutely wiped out behind the net on the play.

10. With 11:11 left in the third, the energy that had been brewing since Saturday night’s game finally boiled over and Tom Wilson and Trent Frederic dropped the gloves in the neutral zone. This was Wilson’s first fight of the season, but he was already in excellent form.

11. For the second game in a row, the Bruins erased a 3-0 Capitals lead. This time, it was Craig Smith with the game-tying tally with just under seven minutes to go. Lauzon made an absolute stunner of a pass to Smith, who absolutely did not miss on his one-timer. It’s a whole new hockey game, folks.

12. The Bruins took their first lead in almost two games of hockey in Washington with 2:37 left with a Brandon Carlo goal. The Capitals were in total scramble mode on this play, and their sloppy coverage led to a 4-3 Bruins lead.

13. Brad Marchand put the game on ice for Boston with an empty netter to hand the Caps their first regulation loss of the season. RIP point streak...

14. It got lost in the busy final few minutes of the game, but Conor Sheary had to be helped down the tunnel after colliding with Sean Kuraly at the Caps’ blue line. He appears to struggle putting weight on one of his legs. Hopefully Sheary, who had been heating up as of late and was promoted to the second line, is okay. Can the Capitals go one game without an injury? All signs point to no!

Up next for the Capitals: a rare one-game trip up to New York City to face the Rangers on Thursday.