Quick Hits: Bruins still can’t solve Holtby, trail Caps 3-0 after 40
Second period quick hits
– Overall, the Black and Gold improved during the middle stanza, but they still have no answer for Braden Holtby. The Capitals goaltender extended his shutout streak for another 20 minutes at 166:63 turning away 12 second period shots, including a couple of quality chances from Loui Eriksson, Milan Lucic and even Chris Kelly. Marcus Johansson added his 20th of the year late in the second to give Washington a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes.
– I said this in the first period and I’ll say it again: one has to wonder why David Pastrnak is getting fourth line minutes. Sure Claude Julien likes his defensive first system transitioning into offense, but for a team looking for goals against a goalie that has their number, it’s hard to justify this decision of having the best offensive weapon in the past two months playing with Gregory Campbell and Carl Soderberg.
– At this rate, it may be best for Tuukka Rask to get some rest in the final period and rest him for another important contest tomorrow against the Panthers in South Florida.
Second period stats
– Bruins outshot the Capitals 12-10 in the second period. Through 40 minutes, the Caps have a 26-22 shots on goal advantage.
– The Capitals have taken the physical game to the Black and Gold; outhitting them, 23-17.
– B’s have a 30-15 advantage in the faceoff circle.
First period quick hits
– Entering tonight’s game, the Bruins were looking to solve Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. The Washington netminder, who has given the B’s fits throughout his career, entered Game No. 80 of the season sporting a shutout streak of 126:43 against Boston. That streak was extended by another 20 minutes as the Caps have a 2-0 lead after the first period
– The Bruins picked the wrong time to revisit their defensive breakdowns that have haunted them through certain points in the season. The first goal they gave up came after a David Krejci turnover. Nicklas Backstrom took the puck from there and fed it to John Carlson for his 12th of the season just 4:49 in. Just 2:17 later, Matt Niskanen’s one-timer from the point deflected off of Zach Trotman’s stick for his fourth of the year, giving the Caps the 2-0 lead.
– Shortly after the second goal, Claude Julien decided to switch up his line combinations, again. Brett Connolly, who started out skating with Chris Kelly and Ryan Spooner, was promoted to the first line with Krejci and Milan Lucic. Reilly Smith took Connolly’s spot on the third line, while David Pastrnak was bumped down to the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Carl Soderberg. Sure, Julien is justified to breaking up the brief Lucic-Krejci-Pastrnak reunion as the trio was not in sync through their first few shifts, but with the Bruins in need of goal scoring, there has to be a way for Pastrnak to reunite with Spooner, even if its on the third line. It’s safe to say that these are questionable decisions, at best, for the B’s bench boss with his personnel in the opening 20 minutes.
First period stats
– Capitals hold a 16-10 edge in shots on goal and a 18-12 advantage in hits.
– The Bruins do have a couple of things going in their favor with a 14-8 advantage in face off wins and have blocked eight first period shots (same as the Caps).
– Zdeno Chara, who for the second game in a row skated gingerly after blocking a shot in the knee, led all skaters with 8:47 of ice time.