Happy matinee hockey day, Caps fans! When the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins saw each other a week ago, the Caps wiped the ice with the Bruins in an 8-1 thrashing. However, both teams looked a bit different today. The Bruins got both Charlie McAvoy and Tuukka Rask back on the ice, as well as the addition of Taylor Hall. The Capitals, of course, now have Anthony Mantha in their lineup, and were also without Zdeno Chara for the first game this season. Chara got a break today after blocking a few shots in yesterday’s 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, so Trevor van Riemsdyk drew into the lineup for the first time since March 16. van Riemsdyk slotted in next to Nick Jensen on the third pair:
Capitals lines vs Bruins:— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) April 18, 2021
Ilya Samsonov was in net for the Caps yesterday, so it was all Vitek Vanecek this afternoon. Vanecek is 3-2-0 against Boston this season with a .912 SV%. Tuukka Rask is 0-0-2 against Washington this season with a .902 SV%. Who would come away with the victory in the seventh matchup between these two teams? Let’s find out.
Here’s Sunday afternoon’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: This Anthony Mantha trade is looking better and better every day, folks.
Minus: During the first intermission, the Capitals announced that Justin Schultz would not return for the remainder of the game with a lower body injury. He was seen on and off the bench during the first period, and appeared to take a bit of a test skate late in the first. Schultz took this hit from Taylor Hall just under halfway through the period and did not return.
And now, a grand entrance:
who is that man behind the curtain? pic.twitter.com/DrBEo8lSzf— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 18, 2021
Thirteen more notes on the game:
1. Just 35 seconds into the game, Dmitry Orlov took a hooking penalty on Brad Marchand and gave the Bruins the first power play opportunity of the afternoon. Boston’s power play is ranked tenth-best in the league at 22.5%, and Washington’s penalty kill is seventh-best at 83.1%. The Caps’ PK came out on top after two minutes, with Trevor van Riemsdyk getting some shorthanded ice time.
2. Connor Clifton was called for a double minor after high-sticking Lars Eller 8:53 into the first. The penalty was confirmed after a quick review, so the Capitals’ power play got to work. The Caps got several chances on the man-advantage, but unfortunately Tuukka Rask and the league’s top penalty kill unit were better. With 52 seconds left on the penalty, it was Patrice Bergeron who broke the ice with a shorthanded goal after Brad Marchand put pressure on John Carlson behind Vitek Vanecek. This is the seventh shorty the Caps have allowed this season, the most in the league.
3. 1:54 later, David Krejci doubled Boston’s lead after orchestrating a great zone entry on a breakout. Connor Clifton threw the puck on net from a sharp angle, and Krejci was right there to tap the puck in past Vanecek. 2-0 Boston with 6:04 to go.
4. T.J. Oshie cut Boston’s lead in half with a huge goal with just ten seconds left in the first period. Oshie started the breakout down the ice and flipped the puck to Nicklas Backstrom, who drove to the net and made Charlie McAvoy look silly. Backstrom fired the puck right at Tuukka Rask’s glove, but Rask was unable to close his hand around it fast enough and the puck popped out into the crease. Oshie had been trailing on the play, so he was right there to snap the puck to the back of the net. Tuukka Rask is going to be kicking himself over this one for sure.
5. Garnet Hathaway and Curtis Lazar got dinged for matching roughing penalties at the end of the first period, so the Caps and Bruins kicked off the second period with some four-on-four hockey. Nothing came of that but less than a minute after the four-on-four hockey expired, Connor Clifton took his second double minor for high-sticking of the afternoon and T.J. Oshie made him pay with his second goal of the game. The Caps executed a beautiful passing sequence to the left of Rask: Backstrom from the circle to Evgeny Kuznetsov next to the net to Oshie in the slot, who absolutely sniped a shot past Rask. This is Oshie’s team-leading tenth power play tally of the season, and it was before the two-minute mark on the double minor so the Caps got two more minutes of power play time.
6. Another! Antman! Goal! That’s right, Anthony Mantha, who has been on the Capitals’ second power play unit since the trade deadline, took advantage of the double minor and scored his fourth goal in as many games with the Caps with another perfectly placed shot. He also scored a goal in his last game with the Red Wings, putting him on a career-high five-game scoring streak. Mantha is now the first player in Capitals’ history to score in each of his first four games with the franchise. Additionally, Dmitry Orlov recorded the primary assist on the tally and extended his point streak to five games (2G, 3A).
Momma there goes that Man(tha)! pic.twitter.com/8wAPcWu0ke— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 18, 2021
7. Brad Marchand tied the game back up just 1:39 later. Both Marchand and David Pastrnak were left alone in front of the net, and Patrice Bergeron passed the puck their way. Pastrnak missed on a shot but Marchand was there to clean it up and fire a backhand shot past Vanecek.
8. Garnet Hathaway got called for an offensive-zone holding penalty on Connor Clifton with 6:05 remaining in the second period. The Capitals’ penalty kill managed to keep a Boston power play tally off the board, but the Bruins retook the lead with David Krejci’s second goal of the game just after Hathaway’s penalty expired. He showed some unreal patience in front of the net, and the Caps gave him way too much room to do so.
9. The Bruins made it 5-3 on Patrice Bergeron’s second goal of the afternoon after an odd-man rush with Bergeron, Pastrnak, and Marchand. Dmitry Orlov disrupted the initial passing play in front of Vanecek, but Bergeron was in the slot to clean up the broken play and pot his 18th goal of the season.
10. Mike Reilly was called for hooking on Oshie with 12.2 seconds left in the second period, so the Capitals got 1:48 of power play time to start the third period. Unfortunately, the Caps could not take advantage of this opportunity. Additionally, shortly after the penalty on Reilly expired, Tuukka Rask denied Alex Ovechkin on a breakaway and the Lars Eller shot on the rebound.
11. After an awkward collision between Tom Wilson and Sean Kuraly (in which Kuraly was off balance and fell into an oncoming Wilson), Jarred Tinordi was called for roughing Wilson at 5:52 of the third. Once again, Washington could not capitalize on the power play opportunity and did not even manage to get a shot on Rask.
12. Garnet Hathaway was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Jarred Tinordi with 10:39 left in the third. There was no initial call on the play, but after a review Hathaway was sent to the locker room and the Bruins got an all-you-can-eat power play. The Caps had a few shorthanded chances, Dmitry Orlov jumped in to save a goal after the puck almost trickled across the goal line, and Washington killed the major penalty.
13. With just over two minutes to go in the third, the Capitals pulled Vitek Vanecek for the extra attacker. Unfortunately, it was Brad Marchand who found the back of the net 30 seconds later. 6-3 Boston, which would stand as the final score.
Up next for the Capitals: a rare three-day break before heading to New York to face the Islanders on Thursday, April 22 at 7pm.