Defensive Scoring and Penalty Killing Help in Capitals Win Over Bruins

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The Washington Capitals started their longest road trip (four games in nine days) of the season tonight in Boston against the Bruins. Nate Schmidt returned to the lineup after a two-absence. Washington previously defeated the Bruins in five consecutive games.

First Period: Improvements

The Capitals have had problems with their first periods the past few games. Bruin Patrice Bergeron scored 7:11 into the game to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. The Bruins have the most first period goals in the league and the Capitals have allowed the first goal in 10 of their last 12 games.  The fourth line of Winnik-Beagle-Richards continued to play well and so did the second line. Tom Wilson and Adam McQuaid dropped the gloves in the final minutes of the period, sending them both off with five-minute penalties. Even though the Caps gave up the first goal, this was an improved first period.

GOALS: Patrice Bergeron scored his 26th of the season (assists: Brad Marchand and Lee Stempniak)

PENALTIES: Tom Wilson (fighting); Adam McQuaid (fighting).

SCORE: Caps trail 1-0.

Second Period: Penalty Kill Specialists

The Capitals got the first power play of the game but could not convert. Bruin Torey Krug believed he scored but Caps head coach Barry Trotz was successful in his offside challenge. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin hit Kevan Miller into the boards and was  assessed a five-minute major and Brad Marchand collected a two-minute roughing penalty for going after Ovi. There would be a three-minute Bruins power play but it would become 1:50 of a 5-on-3 after Tom Wilson joined Ovechkin in the box. The Capitals penalty kill would be successful, thanks to goaltender Philipp Grubauer and his iron friend, defenseman Karl Alzner, who tied the game at the 13:08 mark.

GOALS: Karl Alzner scored his fourth of the season (assists: Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin)

PENALTIES: David Pastrnak (boarding); Alex Ovechkin (5 minute major-boarding); Brad Marchand (roughing); Tom Wilson (interference); Too many men served by Marcus Johansson.

SCORE: Tied 1-1

Third Period: Rough and Tough

The “Big Bad Bruins” and the Capitals traded hits and some not-so-nice words through out the period. Dmitry Orlov laid a big legal hit on a Bruin in the front of the Capitals bench. The Capitals penalty kill continued to be successful and the power play actually got some chances as well. T.J. Oshie had a great shorthanded chance during a penalty kill. Zheno Chara hit Ovechkin in the face with his stick late in the period. Then Brooks Orpik got his face cut after getting hit on the boards. The score was tied when the buzzer sounded, forcing the game into overtime.

GOALS: None

PENALTIES: Jay Beagle (tripping); John-Michael Liles (hooking); Zdeno Chara (roughing); T.J. Oshie (interference)

SCORE: Tied 1-1

Overtime: Nis-cannon GWG again!

The Capitals and Bruins head to 3-on-3 overtime. The OT was active and eventful. Matt Niskanen, set up by Andre Burakovsky, blasted one past Tuukka Rask and the Capitals collect both points in Beantown.

GOALS: Matt Niskanen scored his fifth of the season (assists: Andre Burakovsky and Marcus Johansson)

FINAL SCORE: Caps win 2-1.

Goaltender Philipp Grubauer had a great night in net for the Capitals. The Caps still have not lost two consecutive games in regulation. Also, the Caps are the first team to 100 points this season. With this, the team heads to Southern California to challenge Western Conference teams, one which they might face in the final run for the Cup.

What’s Next?

Caps are off Sunday as they soak in the sun before facing the first place Anaheim Ducks.

Practice: Morning skate on Monday, 11:30 a.m. PST, at the Honda Center.

Game: Monday night at 10pm EST at Honda Center against the Anaheim Ducks.

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