BOSTON, MA – The Boston Bruins outlasted the Washington Capitals 6-3 in a grueling and physical Sunday afternoon matinee in front of 2,191 at TD Garden. The Bruins got two goals from Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Brad Marchand to power them past the first-place Capitals.
Boston had the game’s first power-play opportunity just thirty-five seconds into the game. Dmitry Orlov was called for Hooking, but the Bruins were unable to capitalize.
A Connor Clifton High-Sticking double minor at 8:53 gave the visiting Capitals a four-minute power-play. Tuukka Rask (30 saves) turned back shot after shot, but the penalty killing of Marchand and Bergeron got Boston on the board first.
Marchand pressured John Carlson into losing the puck at the goal line. A back-checking TJ Oshie missed the loose puck in front of the goal, and Bergeron picked it up and walked in and deked Vitek Vanecek (22 saves) for the 1-0 lead at 12:02.
Boston grabbed another goal almost two minutes later when Clifton found a wide-open Krejci in front of Vanecek to make it 2-0. Craig Smith picked up the second assist on Krejci’s fourth goal of the season.
Washington pulled one back with just ten seconds remaining in the first period as Oshie banged in a Niklas Backstrom rebound. Rask made the initial stop on Backstrom, but none of the back-checking Bruins picked up a trailing Oshie.
Another Clifton double minor at 2:53 of the second gave the Capitals a four-minute power-play again. This time the visitors didn’t waste their opportunity grabbing two goals to tie the game and take the lead.
The first goal came at 3:48 when Oshie one-timed an Evgeny Kuznetsov pass past Rask to tie the game 2-2. The Caps worked the puck low to high when Backstrom dished from the top right circle to Kuznetsov at the goal line, and he then dished to Oshie in the slot.
Oshie’s two goals were his 15th and 16th of the season.
The second Power-Play goal came at 4:54 when recently acquired Anthony Mantha deposited an Orlov dish past Rask giving the Capitals the 3-2 lead. Mantha wristed a shot from the top of the right circle to beat Rask for his 15th of the year and fourth in four games with Washington.
The Capitals lead was short-lived as Marchand banged home a rebound in front of Vanecek at 6:33. Bergeron hit Pastrnak with a pass from the corner, Vanecek made the save, but Marchand was there to net his 22nd goal of the season.
Krejci broke open the tie game at 14:02 of the second period when he beat Vanecek point-blank with a wrist shot. Krejci caught a Smith pass, let Capitals defenseman Orlov slide past him, and then fired off his game-winning goal.
“Four games, four wins. So yeah, I would say [we’re rolling],” Krejci said when asked about the team’s play since the trade deadline. “We’re here, this is the team, and now we’re just playing. We’re just going out there, trusting the system, and we’re just playing the game. We just go out, and we play.”
Bergeron built on the Bruins’ momentum when he wristed a David Pastrnak feed past Vanecek at 17:45. Marchand and Pastrnak had a two-on-one bid go awry, but Pastrnak dished to a trailing Bergeron for his second goal of the game.
Bergeron’s goal was the 21,000th in Bruins franchise history.
Things took a turn for the ugly in the third. Tom Wilson hit a failing Sean Kuraly, leading Jarred Tinordi to go after Wilson. Wilson didn’t bite, and Tinordi was sent off for Roughing at 5:52 of the third.
Boston killed off the Tinordi penalty but shortly afterward, Tinordi was hit from behind by Garnet Hathaway. Tinordi went down hard and came up bloody. Play carried on as no penalty was called. After a review, Hathaway was given a Boarding penalty and a Game Misconduct.
The Bruins were unable to take advantage of the resulting five-minute power-play.
At 18:16, Marchand added his second of the game with an empty-net goal. Pastrnak assisted on Marchand’s 23rd of the season.
“The big boys came to play today,” said Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. “We’re a dangerous team when that happens.”
“I’ve got to give our guys credit; I don’t think that we ever stopped trying to pursue that game, and it just didn’t happen for us tonight,” said Capitals Head Coach Peter Laviolette. “We had a lot of really good looks; we had three or four breakaways and just weren’t able to cash in on it. There were a lot of good things that we did. At the end of the day, there was probably a mistake or two that we maybe should have cleaned up, could have cleaned up.”