Eight is Enough: Bruins beat Caps 3-2

brads

Matt Bradley is about to bleed. (Photo credit: Michael Dwyer)

The Washington Capitals mounted one of their largest offensive pushes ever to try and stop the Boston Bruins from extending  their losing streak to eight. Nope.

The Bruins scored the first three goals of the night all in the first period: a screened shot by Patrice Bergeron, a deflection off Scott Hannan by Andrew Ference (his first in 99 games), and a five-holer by Blake Wheeler. Matt Bradley responded early in the second with a dangle-and-wrist from a tight angle. Karl Alzner turned on hero mode, slapping one in off Tim Thomas’ shoulder to keep the Caps within striking distance. Despite a furious effort in the waning moments,  the Bruins felled the Caps 3-2.

  • You’re damn right Matt Bradley was player of the game. He dropped gloves with Adam McQuaid after the Bruins’ second goal to evoke some passion from his teammates. When that didn’t work, he opted to just score himself. Bradley’s goal was skillful, and from a player who prides himself on his gritty, ugly style, having him convert on talent alone is signficant.

  • Eric Fehr was going to be your healthy scratch tonight (and deservedly so) until Matthew Perot got a touch of the flu. He wasn’t on the ice for any scoring chances in either direction through two periods, but ended up on ice for 7 for in third.
  • How big was that third period? Shots were 26-2 for the Caps and scoring chances 13-1. If the Capitals played that hard in every period, we wouldn’t be looking at Voldemort or James Van Der Beek right now.
  • As good as that third period was, the first was embarrassing. It took over eight minutes for the Caps to put their first puck on target against Tim Thomas, and I’m not sure Matt Hendricks‘ center-ice dump-in should really count.  The Caps would have only one scoring chance in that period against Boston’s eight, and that made all the difference.
  • In the second period, Scott Hannan retrieved the puck in front of Michal Neuvirth for the breakout. Reading Neuvirth’s reaction, walling up as if facing an opponent’s breakaway, you get the feeling Hannan/Typhoid Mary might be a double agent.
  • Nuevy had a #brittlegroin scare in the second, hyperextending to make a brilliant kick save, but unable to return to upright position afterwards. The whistle was blown, but Neuvy never left the ice.
  • Hershey call-up and RMNB buddy Andrew Gordon spent some time on the top line with Alex Ovechkin. That might have been a reward for playing balls-to-the-wall on darn near every shift. Great work, sir. It’ll pay off soon.
Joe B's suit of the night

Joe B's suit of the night

Yep. That’s eight. Does the slump imperil Bruce Boudreau’s job? Don’t know. But it’s hard to fault BBBB when the players are so clearly not playing the system. The defensive breakdowns and sputtering breakout and the turnovers in neutral off of diagonal passes evidence that. Two crucial players (Semin and Schultz) are out with injuries or illness, and that might qualify the losing streak as well.

The passion the Capitals players showed in that epic but ultimately frustrating third period reveal that Bruce can still get them to play with their hearts and heads. So there’s that.

The Capitals cross the border to face the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night. Who will show up: the first period Caps or the third period Caps? Cause it’s the latter, this slump is going to end in a blowout.

Additional reporting by Neil “Waddles” Greenberg.

  • http://make-lemons.com Michelle

    Didn’t see the game…. but I hope Semin is fixed enough to meet the team in Ottawa……….

    (oh… and why are we looking at the Beek? Is it because Dawson was a perennial loser to Pacey??)

  • Neil, RMNB

    As you know, I am a BB supporter and feel this is all just one heck of a bad luck streak, but if the team doesn’t come out with a win against Ottawa I don’t see how BB keeps his job – especially after losing lead in SEdiv.

  • DarkStranger44

    Maybe I’m blind but I can’t see James Van Der Beek at the moment. I do, however, see Voldemort! LOL!

    Alternate spelling of Matthieu Perreault’s name, I see!

    Like Michelle, I hope Semin is fixed enough to meet the Caps in Ottawa or, at the very least, be ready by the NJ game. He hasn’t been healthy since late November. Get well, Sasha! Please! (Or as they say in Russian, пожалуйста. Pozhalusta!)

  • Peter

    Dark Stranger,

    You gotta have a massive desktop to see Dawson crying. See the whole thing here: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150105522122214&set=a.428435747213.219258.216373312213&theater

    And I’m with Neil– I love BB and what he’s done for the team, but we’re in a perfect storm of suck. The trip to Canada is like what Leonidas’ wife said to him when he’s off to battle: “leave with your shield… or on it.”

    It’s a must win situation. If I were BB, I would have guaranteed a win in the post-game tonight. Got nothing to lose, and the audacity might shake things up.

    Michelle, we put Dawson up to represent our deep, deep emotional turmoil. Kevin Williamson’s seminal hourlong drama on the WB best captures that emotion.

  • cbl

    Peter,

    I like BB also, but the thing that worries me about him is his inability to snap his team out of a funk and play like they are able. It happened in the spring against Mtl. A couple of good saves from the opposition and a couple of bad breaks on the other end and the team starts to play tight and it just snowballs. We can overcome this in Dec, but not in the spring, when you get only four bad games before hitting the links.

    I think if they win tomorrow, BB is safe and the team will go on a roll with confidence back. If the streak hits 9, I have to think GMGM is already thinking of possible replacements for Monday morning.

    Also, how in the hell did Beagle get more TOI than Brads and Hendy? Our two best players tonight by a mile and they both get less than 10 minutes, last on the team.

    OV, who might have been the worst player on the ice in the first, logged almost 24 minutes for the game. If he and Backs play like regular players, they need to have regular player minutes until they prove they are ready to produce like stars again. It is not good for the team long term if lots of ice time is a given for some no matter how bad they play and little ice time is a given for others no matter how well they play.

    This is professional sports, where you are only as good as your last game. OV and Backs are as talented as they come in this league, but it does neither of them or the team any good to put it all on their backs when they are slumping and others are playing above their talent level.

  • capsfan

    Pretty, pretty please, get rid of he who shall not be named!! Can’t be good! Maybe replace him with a pic of Neuvy and call it Czech machine never break!!! Because the OV machine is def. broke :’(

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  • BobbyG

    The past eight games certainly have not been Great 8 for Ovie and the Caps. I hope Semin is OK to play tonight against the Sens to juice up the floundering offense because another loss would be very hard to take. I like Coach BB too, but I have to think the GM is already thinking about shaking up the team, doing something daring, to get the players’ attention if the losing streak goes on much longer. The Thrashers and the Lightning have caught up to the Caps in the SE division and don’t look like they’re going away. These are tough times indeed for Capitals Nation, and HBO is right there to capture all the agony and frustration.

  • CDizz

    “Matthew Perot”
    I must be missing something. When did Mathieu Perreault becomes Matthew Perot?

  • Peter

    @Capsfan,

    Tom Riddle stays until the Caps record a win. I’m sorry; those are the rules. Check back tomorrow.

  • Peter

    CDizz,

    “Matthew Perot” was invented on 12/6, when I realized that I can’t pull off Quebecois spelling.

  • GreenGuy

    He who bringeth the schnied must be taken away, for he is surely not on the path of the righteous. Blessed is He who shepherds the puck through the valley of darkness and towards the net. For it is He who is truly a brother to his teammate and finder of lost goals. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my Brothers by carrying the puck across the blue line, toe dragging then shooting directly into the defenders shin pads. And you will know my name Crosby, when I lay my vengeance upon thee on Jan 1.

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