The NHL had a 1pm matinée affair on Saturday as the Washington Capitals were set to face-off against the Boston Bruins. The Capitals came into Saturday’s tilt sitting one point out of a playoff position in the Eastern Conference, while Boston sat in second place in the East.
The Capitals went into the Olympic break with a two game win streak. They extended that streak to three after a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday. While Alexander Ovechkin and Team Russia struggled in Sochi, Ovechkin still came back to the NHL leading the league in goals, and added to that lead with his 41st goal on Thursday.
Boston came into their home game on Saturday after a tough 5-4 loss to Buffalo on the road. The Bruins still sit atop the Atlantic Division and trail only the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Tuuka Rask got the start in goal for the Bruins, while Braden Holtby would man the crease for the Capitals. After the disappointment in Sochi, it was clear that Alexander Ovechkin felt like he had something to prove to the world, and he would get off to a hot start against the Bruins.
After a Boston penalty gave Washington a power play in the final minutes of the opening frame, Alex Ovechkin fired a one timer past Tuuka Rask to give the Capitals a 1-0 edge and Ovechkin his league leading 42nd goal on the NHL season. The Capitals would take a 1-0 lead heading into the second period after out shooting the Bruins 13-7.
In the opening minute of the period the Capitals would be treated to another power play. And again it was their captain delivering for the team, as some nice puck movement by Washington led to Ovechkin’s second goal of the game and 43rd of the season. Washington led 2-0 midway through the second period.
Later in the second period, a costly turnover by the Bruins led to a breakaway goal by Joel Ward to give the Capitals a 3-0 lead. Ward earned his 18th goal of the season. Just under a minute later the Bruins would answer on a power play of their own as Olympic gold medalist, Patrice Bergeron slid one past Braden Holtby to put Boston on the board.
The Bruins carried their momentum to the end of the second as Gregory Campbell redirected a Shawne Thornton pass past Braden Holtby to cut the Bruins deficit to one heading into the third period. The two teams were evenly matched in this Eastern Conference face-off as the Bruins outshot the capitals 22-21 after two periods on this NHL matinée affair.
Midway through the third period it was the Capitals extending their one goal lead, as Eric Fehr got behind the Bruins defense and beat Tuuka Rask five-hole to give the Capitals a 4-2 lead. Despite some last-minute pushes by the Bruins, the Capitals would hold to their 4-2 lead and win their fourth game in a row.
The Capitals got the best of the Bruins in this Eastern Conference matinée affair and they will temporarily be in the eighth seed of the NHL playoffs. Washington will look to extend their four game win streak and hold on to that final playoff spot for the remainder of the NHL season
By Eric Kummel