The USA Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2019 is honored ahead of the Bruins/Capitals game.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) December 12, 2019
Tim Thomas, Krissy Wendell, Brian Gionta & Neal Henderson are at Capital One Arena. pic.twitter.com/8OvrQ7zQOn
YOU GUYS. Tim Thomas emerged, and I’m pretty sure he saw his shadow on the ice from all those spotlights. Looks like there’s at least 6 more months of hockey in our future, if the lore holds up.
It took a few minutes for the game to really get going, but once it did, Washington was a defensively suffocating team. Shift after shift, the Bruins couldn’t move the puck beyond just inside the blue line.
Fortunately for Boston, Pasta is Slippery. Charlie McAvoy drove the puck up ice and joined the forward rush, and with all eyes on him, David Pastrnak snuck down his wing side to receive a crisp pass and placed it double-top-cheddah.
An interesting exchange between Zdeno Chara and Tom Wilson saw Wilson take a crosschecking penalty and then fear for his life as a real-life giant tried to separate his face from his skull.
Zdeno Chara and Tom Wilson with a really good fight pic.twitter.com/bhfHLoQABG— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) December 12, 2019
The ensuing power play, and the following one as Torey Krug was tripped at his spot at the top of the umbrella, yielded a goal for about a minute. Unfortunately, the Capitals won the offsides challenge and the game remained at 1-0.
This apparently was enough to overturn Patrice Bergeron’s eventual goal... pic.twitter.com/lN2iSGKR5j— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) December 12, 2019
As tweeted: LAAAAAME.
The frame would end as such. Moving on.
Another early power play for Boston was for naught. Washington then began their own man-advantage chance after Chris Wagner’s hand was held in an armlock by a Caps player. They (specifically, T.J. Oshie) scored on the ensuing power play, and all was WRONG with the world.
Oshie scored again later in the frame on a great move around B’s defenseman Connor Clifton, and fought off a penalty by McAvoy to roof one past Halak.
The period devolved after that. McAvoy took a spear behind Halak on what looked like an innocuous defensive stick-check by Nicklas Backstrom, gone wrong. A little benefit of the doubt there. Boston struggled to put forth a coherent attack, and the rest of the frame looked like the first ten minutes: fast, but hapless in terms of possession for Boston.
A late penalty to Charlie Coyle made it difficult for Boston to regain control and get a tying goal before intermission, so TO THE THIRD WITH A DEFICIT WE GO.
A short minute of 5v5 was too much, so Tom Wilson decided to level Pasta away from the puck, putting the Bruins on the power play. As it looked like that advantage would expire, a chance faceoff shot from Krug probably deflected off of Sean Kuraly’s stick, but they don’t ask how... they ask how many Holtby can’t save. Boston tied up the game.
And shortly thereafter, Backstrom carried the puck behind Halak, drawing every set of eyes in the building, including John Carlson. He was the only target for the pass and buried the shot.
He’d end up in the box a short time later, so there’s that... if only it yielded anything.
There was not much to be excited about in this period, in the context of the game. The fast pace continued, and the Capitals seemed to have free reign over their home ice, closing out the third with substantial control over the flow of the game.
While this game wasn’t the result we might have wanted, it’s important to notice that the Bruins played up to the competition - a good omen for future games against top teams across the league. Sure, it’s just December, but the Bruins will have to face Toronto, Tampa Bay, Washington, or whatever pieces fall out of the wildcard race in order to contend for another Cup. Good to see that the level of play and the physicality was not a deterrent, rather a motivator.