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Morning After: TD Garden Triumph

Feb 10, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals, in case you hadn’t heard, were riding a six-game losing streak coming into yesterday afternoon’s game against the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are one of the best teams in the league, so yesterday was primed to be loss number seven. Fortunately for the Capitals, yesterday ended up being quite the trap game for the Bruins. Boston was chasing from the start and looked like the last thing they wanted to be doing was playing a hockey game. That effort, or lack thereof, resulted in Washington sealing the 3-0 win.

A lot of the talk yesterday, particularly on the broadcast, focused on that lack of effort from the Bruins. However, that really doesn’t do the Capitals justice—they came into TD Garden to face the second-best team in the NHL and had complete control of the game as soon as the puck dropped. They were solid in all three zones, moved the puck well, and didn’t give the Bruins an opportunity to get anything going for themselves.

After dropping six games in a row going back to January 20, the Washington team that hit the ice today was almost unrecognizable. They strung together three solid periods of hockey, something they’ve been struggling with all season. The lack of consistency in their game has made getting any momentum going difficult, but perhaps yesterday’s dominance of one of the top teams in the league could be a turning point. It was one of the Capitals’ best efforts of the season, and it was much needed.

Three Takeaways:

  • The Capitals got off to a great start yesterday, outshooting Boston 14-4 in the first and overwhelmingly controlling the play. This sounds…awfully familiar for anyone who watched the Capitals-Panthers game on Thursday. That game, unfortunately, ended with a big L for Washington. first period again like in Florida on Thursday. However, that was not the case yesterday—the Capitals turned a great first period into an excellent full 60 minutes. After two periods, they were even outshooting the Bruins 23-8.
  • The Capitals are the first team to shut out the Bruins all season, which most people probably did not have on their bingo cards. Not only did the Caps shut out the Bruins, but they held them to a season-low 18 shots; Boston’s season-low before yesterday was 21. Charlie Lindgren stopped all 18 of those shots, which was good for his third shutout of the season and is tied for fourth-most in the league.
  • Alex Ovechkin broke a Wayne Gretzky record yesterday—with his 57th career empty net goal, he now has the most empty net tallies in NHL history. Ovi now also has four goals in his last four games, which is hopefully a sign of good things to come. Maybe he heard people trash talking him and decided to prove everyone wrong. Maybe it was his family vacation in Dubai. Whatever it is, fingers crossed he keeps going.

They Said It:

Talking Points