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Bruins vs. Capitals 12/14/17 RECAP: Defense fails big time in 5-3 loss

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The curse of Holtby lives on.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

[Low, weak groaning. The kind you make with bad gastrointestinal problems.]

First Period:

If you thought last game’s first period was uninspired, you really should’ve seen how this game started.

Washington came out ready to go, shooting, cycling well, skating like crazy...and Boston just could not keep up at all. And somehow, they ended up sticking with the Caps. Especially since Lars Eller ended up getting a puck past Khudobin, but it was called back due to an offsides review. But, with all things regarding these slow starts, you can’t assume your goaltender can steal you a game at will. You have to support him, and...well...

They didn’t.

Jakub Vrana managed to catch Matt Grzelcyk looking and charged past him to get an easy shot at Khudobin, and opened the scoring late in the first. 1-0 Caps.

Just a miserable sequence on the backcheck for the Bruins.

Second Period:

Things briefly looked up! The 2nd period saw Boston pull away in the shots department and showed what made them so good looking on that 3 game streak to begin with. On the power play, a solid passing play started by Danton Heinen and Brad Marchand got to Patrice Bergeron, scoring his 6th of the year and getting him into rare territory; 8th on the Bruins’ all-time scoring leaderboard, passing Bobby Orr.

You seriously have to appreciate what a player Number 37 in Black and Gold is.

Of course...the rest of his team is only human, and his defense looked especially mortal tonight. As on the power play, the Caps re-established the lead with a no look feed to Nicklas Backstrom, who finished with a bare minimum tap into the net. Not much you can do there but say 2-1 Caps.

Note: Nicklas Backstrom was left essentially untouched here. Maybe he should’ve been displaced a bit?

Oh yeah, and Tom Wilson is a dirtbag and Marchand got into a fistfight and got a misconduct, meaning he was out for the rest of the game.

Third Period:

Things didn’t improve.

Alex Chiasson got one of his two early on when a shot got rebounded, and he just never quit on the play, essentially forcing it past Khudobin. Again, practically undefended. 3-1 Caps.

The Bruins would try to level the playing field with a power play opportunity, but Torey Krug blasted a shot directly into Alex Chaisson, who took off and...hey, this play looks familiar!

Oh yeah. Because the Red Wings did the exact same thing nearly 24 hours ago. Turns out neither goaltender can in fact, “have that.” 4-1 Caps.

The Bruins did try and mount a comeback, with David Krejci tallying in front of Holtby with a deflection from a Charlie McAvoy shot. 4-2 Caps still lead.

But then...Boston did the “We’ll take that L, please” thing they do.

You know. Pull the goalie and...well...

Really doesn’t matter how they do it, so long as they give up one last goal to really punch the fans in the head. 5-2 Caps for the wi-

Er...5-3 Caps for the win.

All things considered, that was probably the best offensive sequence the Bruins had all night. And as a consequence, it extended David Pastrnak’s point streak to 10 games, which is pretty sweet, and firmly ensconced Patrice Bergeron’s position on the all-time scoring leader’s list.

But yeah. Still a loss.

Game Notes:

  • Your leaders in possession tonight were: Danton Heinen, David Backes, Matt Grzelcyk, Riley Nash, and Charlie McAvoy. There was only one player under 50% in CF% tonight.
  • Had that second Chiasson goal not been 100% his fault, I’d have made a point that the only player on the blueline to not have been a complete disaster in front of Khudobin was Torey Krug for the second time in a row. But then that happened, and that basically sealed it. This performance was putrid and lifeless across the entire defense corps. From oldest player, to youngest rookie.
  • I’m honestly not sure what to think about the idea that Adam McQuaid coming back would somehow make the D-Corps better, to be honest. Skating slow and having disastrous net-front awareness plagued the entire team tonight and he certainly has had his moments this year, so I dunno what he’d end up achieving.
  • The real sad thing is that Grzelcyk showed flashes of brilliant passing in stretches...but nobody’s gonna remember that, now are they.
  • Marchand being out on a game misconduct was really bad. It’d have helped to have him around for that last period.
  • Khudobin finished tonight with an .810 in SV%. Not great, but a couple of those goals were the kind of thing Boston’s Goaltending unit has had trouble with all season. He tried his good and goddamnedest to keep the B’s in the game and to his credit, they did respond...they just didn’t respond enough to get points from it. His aggressive style did leave him making saves he should’ve...and also letting in at least one goal he could’ve stopped.
  • Anders Bjork only played 6 minutes tonight. It looks like he’s probably liable for being benched and honestly, it was a long time coming. He’s been very ineffective lately and it’s been a real issue in multiple games. Who will take his spot? That’s up to you.
  • Well, at least they kept one streak alive by Pasta making a nice and easy dish to Patrice Bergeron. Congrats to Bergeron, once again.

The next game is on Saturday @ 5pm, against NYR. See you then.