What is the Buffalo guy doing here? (Photo: Patrick Smith)
The Washington Capitals were poised to seize a wild card slot with a win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon. That’s exactly what would have happened except for the small matter of Boston absolutely dominating the game.
This is going to be one of those recaps.
AARP member Jarome Iginla scored his first of two goals in the second period, exploiting a breakout by the Capitals. Carl Soderberg got a powerplay marker from the not-perimeter while Eric Fehr was in the box. Iginla scored again a few minutes later, but Jason Chimera ended the shutout with a crash-the-net tap-in late in the second period.
The Bruins made it 4-1 on a soft charging call against Alex Ovechkin. Soderberg kinda interfered with Holtby as Bergeron swept the goal home, but no matter: the game was already over at that point. Evgeny Kuznetsov got a fancy no-angle goal in garbage time.
Bruins beat Caps 4-2.
The Bruins are better. That’s the first and last line of this recap. At even strength, the Bruins stomped the Capitals. When the Caps managed to earn a power play, the Bruins had the cure there too. This was a stomping.
The shot attempts tell the story. This game looked like a Caps-Thrashers game from 2009, except Washington is the Thrashers in this simile.
The Capitals were tied– truly tied– with a chance to take a wild card spot in this game. That did not happen, so we’ll continue our nauseated fixation on the Alchemax Out-of-town Scoardboard.
With Hillen out, John Erskine returned to action for the first time since March 5. Ersk was a bit rusty, and I have a feeling the credit he got for saving Iginla’s hat trick was undeserved; I don’t think he got a piece of it. Ersk seemed particularly besieged when trying to fend off the Bs forecheck in breakout situations.
There’s probably a desire to personalize the problems on the team. It’s this guy’s lazy defense, it’s that guy not getting physical. I think this game is strong evidence that the problems with the Capitals are systemic, not individual.
The exception is the third line of Eric Fehr, Jason Chimera, and Joel Ward. They’re the best thing this team has going at even strength. They cracked the shutout (with the help of Mike Green), served nearly every good offensive shift by the Caps, drew a big penalty in the third, and even got a spot of PP time together. They don’t deserve the vomit GIF, but I’m sticking to the motif anyway.
The officials aren’t the reason the Caps lost, but they still stunk. Tim Peel, at your service.
Braden Holtby was the guy who bore the brunt of the Bruins’ attack, and he did just fine if you ask me. Any goalie who faces 35+ shots and has just one goal in support is facing a losing proposition anyway.
Alright, let’s wrap this up.
The Bruins are the better team. If the Caps manage to make the playoffs and face the Bs, they’ll have to hope for an abbondanza of luck. As constructed and coached, the Caps aren’t a match for the beast of the east.
Maybe Grabovski and Hillen will be back next week, but I doubt that would be the difference maker.
Have a lovely Saturday afternoon. I’ll be here, vomiting.