A solid overall effort from the Boston Bruins helped the team to a 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals tonight at the Capital One Arena, despite giving up two power-play goals in a 19-seconds span.
The win was also bolstered by a strong second performance from Jeremy Swayman in net, who made 31 saves.
“Our guys were committed to playing the right way all night,” Bruce Cassidy said.
The Bruins got on the board 33 seconds into the first period. From the goal line, Brad Marchand backhanded a pass to Jeremy Lauzon at the point where he sent a shot at net that trickled through Ilya Samsonov’s five-hole. 1-0 Bruins.
The Bruins took a two-goal lead at 16:02 of the first period as pressure from the fourth line paid off. Charlie Coyle put pressure on Justin Shultz as he tried to move the puck Zdeno Chara behind the net. But a bad bounce off the boards played in the Bruins’ favor as the puck came to Anton Blidh at the post to sneak a low goal past Samsonov. 2-0 Bruins.
The Bruins outshot the Capitals 18-9 during the first period. The defense was aggressive and had opportunities because they fired shots and threw pucks towards the net which drove plays. On the night, the Bruins’ blueline had seven out of the 32 shots.
The Bs were strong on the puck in the offense zone, shielding the puck and sending bodies to the net. It was also a nice period for the fourth line, as Sean Kuraly’s line was on the attack and cycled pucks. Their efforts were rewarded with that second goal.
Shots in the second period favored the Capitals. Swayman made some big saves, including one where he came out and stopped Evgeny Kuznetsov in the slot towards the beginning of the period.
The Bruins extended their lead with a shorthanded goal at 4:09 of the second period. Marchand toe-dragged the puck across the slot and switched to his backhanded to put the puck top-shelf past Samsonov’s. 3-0 Bruins.
Anton Blidh was called for slashing and roughing on the same play against Lars Eller and the Bruins went on a four-minute penalty kill. A minute and a half later, the Bruins would find themselves on a 5-on-3 as Jakub Zboril landed a minor for interference. Ooof.
It only took four seconds into the two-man advantage for the Capitals to cut into their deficit.
The Capitals struck on the power play at 10:08 of the second period. Off the face-off, T.J. Oshie won the puck back to John Carlson who slid it down to Alex Ovechkin at the top of the left-wing circle for a one-timer that he blasted over Jeremy Swayman’s blocker. 3-1.
Second most PPG goals ever pic.twitter.com/MuVd9NkL1B— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 9, 2021
The power-play goal moved Ovechkin into the second spot of most man-advantage goals in history with 266.
The Capitals would take advantage of the 5-on-3 moments later with another tally at 10:27 of the second period. Carlson found Oshie inside the left face-off circle for a one-timer over Swayman’s blocker again. 3-2.
Although he allowed those two goals, Swayman was solid in net. Through the first 40 minutes of the game, he was aggressive. He came out of his crease, and was able to read the puck movement from the Caps. He also absorbed shots and didn’t give up many rebound chances.
Cassidy credited Swayman’s composure in net being able to make high-end saves.
“[He’s had] no bad goals yet, all good shots that have beaten him,” Cassidy said. “His tracking pucks has been excellent so far. He’s been able to find loose pucks and reset.”
The Bs came out of the second intermission focused, forechecking and sending pucks to the net to close out the final frame.
The Bruins added security to their lead with a power-play goal at 16:55 of the third period. Smith found the loose puck from Coyle’s shot for a wrist shot over Samsonov’s stick. 4-2 Bruins final.
Craig Smith makes it a 4-2 game. pic.twitter.com/786ceGL5Ib— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 9, 2021
The Bruins were 1 for 4 on the power play, but it was enough to give them the two-goal lead that they were able to hold onto for the final minutes of play.
The Bs are back in action Saturday at 2 pm against the Philadelphia Flyers in Philly.