The Bold and the Bloody: Bruins beat Caps 4-1

Brian Babineau

Photo credit: Brian Babineau

The Boston Bruins are the best team in the East. I think they’re the East’s best chance at winning the Cup this year, but that doesn’t mean I’m rooting for them or that I didn’t want the Washington Capitals to crush them on Saturday afternoon. That didn’t happen though. The Caps struggled on defense, and their offense needed help to get the puck behind Anton Khudobin. The game got a little wild in the second and third periods, which is just how the Bruins like it.

Bruins beat Caps 4-1.

  • I’m not sure who should catch the blame on the Nathan Horton goal. Matt Hendricks goofed on a dump-in, but Troy Brouwer‘s deflection gave Lucic the opportunity to pass it up the slot. And of course no one marked Horton at all. Horton had a clean one-timer from high in the slot, and he absolutely nailed it. David Krecji followed it up by sinking a loose puck. It was a bad way to cap off a pretty tight first period.
  • So maybe next year the Capitals should put together an NHL-quality blueline. Jack Hillen and his unenthusiastic D was responsible for Krecji’s goal — perhaps expected after he sat so long on the shelf. Steve Oleksy was on-ice for both first period goals and Ference’s tally in the second.
  • Marcus Johansson opened up the second period with a casual pass from behind Boston’s net. The puck was deflected through the slot by a Boston player and then deflected into the net by David Krecji‘s skate. lulz. That was Marcus Johansson’s second goal on the season (13 games played) and also the closing arguments of any essay about why puck possession is more important that goals when predicting future success.
  • That wasn’t totally fair. Johansson really was the Caps’ best forward. He had 4 shots and possession score in the black (plus-7 Corsi, unlike most of his teammates). I’ve still got my eye on him, but even if his goal was unearned he absolutely deserves credit for a great game.
  • Basically counts as a shutout for Anton Khudobin as far as I’m concerned. Tell me I’m wrong.
  • Andrew Ference scored as four-on-four play expired with a wristshot that was not adequately covered by the Washington D (stop me if you’re detecting a theme).
  • The Capitals– or really just Matt Hendricks— kinda got suckered into playing Bruins-style puck. Lots of scrums after the whistle, troll-y provocation, and ding-a-ling measuring going on. That doesn’t really seem to be a good fit for the Caps roster.
  • But the Caps roster doesn’t seem to fit anything. Case in point: Aaron Volpatti, a waiver-signing who one week later finds himself skating with Ovechkin and Backstrom for portions of Saturday’s game. Volpatti got a sweater instead of Perreault and Wolski for reasons mysterious and got a spot on the top line because he has the correct dominant hand. Oates seems to summarily eliminate wingers from top-line eligibility for such a reason, regardless of how much they (and really we’re just talking about Eric Fehr) can drive play.
  • Ian was so bored by this game that he read the CBA. It was that bad.
  • Alright, let’s try to unpack the end of the second period. Alex Ovechkin gave Brad “Cupcake” Marchand some grief, but somehow Mike Ribeiro got pulled into a fight. A noble enterprise by Ribs, but maybe unwise considering he weights 110 pounds and had never been in an NHL fight before. Matt Hendricks was so moved by the bout (or pissed that it happened) that he attacked Nathan Horton. Hendy got the best of him there, though Horton did earn a Gordie Howe for his blood.
  • Hendricks had to choose between Thornton and McQuaid for another fight in the third period. Hendy chose McQuaid, tearing his jersey and bloodying his hand. Thornton drew an unsportsmanlike for his role in the run-up. The Caps did nothing with the resulting power play.
  • Jason Chimera? Hahaha no.
  • The Bs needed all of 8 seconds to convert a third period power play (Hillen for slashing). The Caps PK is rotten, but no one seems willing to take out the trash.
  • Usually the team behind in the score starts shooting more to try to come back. That didn’t happen. The Caps, who rank in the bottom 10 in possession while trailing, actually saw their offense decline. Mind-bottling.
Joe B suit of the night

Joe B suit of the night

The Bruins are a better team than the Caps right now. It hurts to say it, but it’s true by every measure. The only virtue in games like this is what lessons the team takes away. Hopefully, that means acuity in the dangers of signing and playing sub-NHL defenders, the continued and desperate need for linemates for Ovechkin who actually drive play, and the futility of playing the goon game against a goon team.

At least the Caps get to feed at the trough of Buffalo tomorrow. That team is scorched earth.

I think tonight is when everyone celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. Please be safe. The Capitals’ Mike Vogel called this holiday “Amateur Night,” and he ‘s totally right. Try to avoid the dummies and be careful on the roads. Make sure you’re here for tomorrow night’s game at home.

  • What makes you think we’re in any way superior to the Sabres?

  • Who are up 2-0 on OTT in the 1st period.

  • A team’s shot attempt differential through 27 games > a team’s goals through 20 minutes.

  • Both teams have 23 pts in 27 games. Rest is immaterial.

  • I don’t think Dale Hunter was a better coach than Adam Oates is (I don’t even know how you’d measure that), but I do think he had his team playing better, more sound hockey than Oates has.

    Oates’ line pairings seem experimental at times, and his adherence to his theories about handedness and wing side means seeing extremely sub-par players get minutes (Volpatti, Crabb) in place of tested playmakers who have shown chemistry with the team’s lines (I’m talkin’ Matty P here, but I think Wolski is an excellent fit, too).

    I don’t think either Mcphee’s or Oates’ jobs should be put into question because of the team’s performance this season, but I do think that a focus on fundamentally sound hockey (a type at which the Bruins excel, by the way) is clearly in order.

    Players careers are short enough (evinced by all the “Ovi the hill” analysis going on about Ovechkin’s declining numbers), and if the club is to get mileage out of Ovechkin and Backstrom, it’s more likely to happen now rather than later.

  • Yv

    Caps was schooled in every aspect of the game, again. Minor league defense not defending and offense not creating and producing even in PP. Only own Bs goals saved Caps from shutout. Looks like too much ice time has catching up with Oleksy, 3 ES goals while he was on ice, he seemingly replacing Carlson in this department.
    Considering that Buffalo also playing today, there would be zero excuse on exhaustion and be flat tomorrow. After that next 4 road games could be very brutal and final for Caps.

  • Annapolis

    Well, the Bruins are on the “bruising” side of things, but surely, using no definition of the term, are they a “goon” team.

  • Annapolis

    Sorry, “using any definition of the term”, the Bruins are not a “goon” team. IMO

  • I think it was a typo, should have read “good” team

  • haha of course you’re free to disagree, but just like last year the Bruins get mileage out of provoking the other team into penalties. I don’t think they’re no-skill-all-fighting players at all if that’s how you define goon.

  • Peter

    That’s entirely incorrect. Projecting a team’s future success is best done using shot attempt differential. It’s more accurate than goals or standings. So if you’re argument is about how to define “superior” have at it. Otherwise you are just wrong.

  • Pete

    “Classless” works for me.

  • Statgeekapaloooza is not my thing. Maybe your (not you’re) argument is correct predictively. Time will tell.

  • GuestZ

    I’m getting tired of hearing the same thing after each game => If Leonsis or GMGM are following anything being said outside of their offices they have to be aware of all the talk of change needing to happen. And honestly, if Oates wants to give all these guys a tryout with Ovi, let him => If Oleksy was a forward and shot left-handed, he’d be locked on the LW of the first line. Oates is looking for chemistry and heart, which is why Hendy gets time with them. Nothing has worked consistently for this team this season, so why do we keep talking about it? Ribs has his moments of awesome, but I felt he totally gave that third goal to Boston (3rd? I’ve been drinking. whatev). John Carlson showed us why we questioned him at the start of this sh*tty short season. Backstrom seems to be back where he belongs with Ovi, finally. And Chimera… well, perfect point in the post-game write-up.

    I say we move on. Pull a Shanahan and focus on next season…

  • GuestZ

    And where’s the mention of this referee bs? Locker and JoeB *typically* tend to stay neutral in their summation of play, but this is two games in a row Locker has shared about BLATANTLY blown calls again our opponents. Where the f*** is our damn justice?

  • vahockeymom

    The line pairings are experimental, but under DH, at least he had Semin. The first line by committee thing clearly isn’t working. Where’s the replacement for Semin? Where’s the serious first line threat????

  • Hockeynightincanada

    I think there is just a nasty atmosphere in the Caps locker room, despite what the players may say. Many players in the past have been quick to leave, and Semin looks a lot happier playing for Carolina now. I’m not sure how effective Semin would be if he was still on this team as opposed to being in Carolina, but I guess we will never know. Hunter and Oates…..good coaches with a team of relatively bad players.

  • Joby

    “The Bruins are a better team than the Caps right now.”

    A bit of an understatement.

  • vahockeymom

    hnic – I wonder what the answer is? Clear them ALL out and start over? Can’t do that. It seems to me we can see now that Semin wasn’t the cancer after all. My vote is for a new GM, clean out Green, Schultz and a few others, and a coach that can lay down the law. I am still hoping Oates can do it, but I don’t know…

  • Yeah because we all know the redskins are a shining example of rebuilding a team *cough*

  • Why shouldn’t GMGM’s job be in question? Sure he gets some credit for Kuzya and Forseberg but those signings were no brainers. I agree Oates shouldn’t be held responsible, he is at a point where the obvious line pairings aren’t producing results so he has resorted to mixing things up and I don’t blame him for it.