What we learned: Bruins struggle against Capitals, again
Entering Thursday night, their second contest in as many nights, the Bruins looked to notch their season-high fourth straight victory against a team they haven’t beat in their last seven tries. Unfortunately for the Bruins, it was the same ol’ song and dance against Braden Holtby and the Capitals.
First period tallies by T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom put the Capitals up 2-0 early, but two unanswered goals by Brad Marchand got the Bruins back in it. But the wheels fell off from there for the Black and Gold as the Capitals would go on to score the next three goals en route to the 5-3 victory.
Here is what we learned from Wednesday’s outcome in the nation’s capital.
Surprise start for Rask:
With Tuukka Rask’s heavy travel schedule over the last five days combined with his start in Tampa 24 hours earlier, all signs pointed to the first time all-star getting the night off. But strangely, that was not the case.
Rask got the nod against the high-flying Capitals. Despite making some solid saves, including a post-to-post stop on Alex Ovechkin late in the third, Rask had his fair share of issues.
But there is a bigger problem here. The backup goalie carousel between Providence and Boston has been crazy during the last week as both Anton Khudobin and Zane McIntyre have been recalled and sent down as much as flights coming in and out of Logan Airport. Even with Rask’s massive workload of late, the Bruins apparently have zero confidence in their backup goaltenders.
With the trade deadline looming and the need to keep Rask fresh, a backup goalie may be atop the Bruins’ wish list.
Marchand stays hot:
Avoiding suspension two times in as many weeks is certainly benefiting Marchand and the Bruins in a big way. The B’s leading scorer now has six goals in his last four games, including two-goal games in three of those four. His 23 goals are good enough for sixth in the league, five behind the league leader Sidney Crosby.
Marchand is playing on the edge again and it’s something that may loom costly in the near future. After getting away with just a fine for his dangerous trip on Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, Marchand pushed the envelope once again Tuesday in Tampa Bay. However, he was not disciplined for his trip on Anton Stralman.
Bruins lose Bergeron in the third:
In the third period, Patrice Bergeron took a Matt Niskanen point shot in the inner knee and immediately hit the ice in pain. Bergeron struggled to get off the ice and even hobbled to the bench while making his way down the tunnel. He did come back for two shifts, but could not continue from there, missing the remainder of the game.
Bergeron’s status is still unknown but the Bruins know they cannot afford to lose their assistant captain for a significant amount of time.
“He obviously tried to come back, so we hope that it’s better than worse,” Claude Julien told reporters postgame. “We’ll evaluate it as we move on here.”