By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
For 59 minutes, Bruins netminder Jaroslav Halak stonewalled the Capitals at almost every stop and turn.
In fact, the only goal that went through Halak to that point was a Travis Boyd goal that actually tipped off Bruins defenseman Urho Vaakanainen and into the Boston cage. It was that kind of night for No. 41. That was until the Bruins failed to clear the puck out of their zone for the umpteenth time in the evening, paving the way for TJ Oshie’s game-tying goal with 58.6 seconds left to play (and on Washington’s 38th shot of the evening), and setting the Caps up for a 3-2 shootout victory at TD Garden.
With both teams coming off a Friday night game, it was the Bruins who set the tone with a first-period strike from Charlie Coyle. The goal came off a brilliant Danton Heinen feed, and also had Anders Bjork driving to the net to create the space for Coyle’s second goal in as many nights, scored at the 11:32 mark of the first period.
That aforementioned Boyd goal came just under three minutes later, and it wasn’t until the 3:30 mark of the second period that the Bruins responded, as David Pastrnak cleaned up a Charlie McAvoy chance for his 17th goal of the season.
This was a spirited, and at times downright nasty, game between these East powerhouses, with Tom Wilson making his presence felt on every shift throughout the night. The tempers ultimately flared to matching roughing minors for Wilson and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara with 6:01 remaining in the third period, which stemmed from McAvoy returning the favor with a booming hit delivered the Wilson along the walls of the B’s defensive zone.
While there’s no denying Halak’s headlines in this one, this was a game that really seemed to feature some of McAvoy’s best work of the season. He got on the board with a pair of helpers, and provided strong defensive-zone breakups when necessary, including a late-game poke-check to deny an Ovechkin one-on-one opportunity against Halak.
But with Oshie drawing things back even in the final frame, it was off to overtime (and the shootout) for the third time in the last four games, and with the Bruins failing to generate much in terms of high-quality looks against Braden Holtby.
The best Boston look came from Vaakanainen, as a great move to the net took him to Holtby’s crease, but the Finnish d-man was ultimately unable to tuck the puck under his pads and into his net for what would have been the game-winning goal.
So it was off to the shootout, where Charlie Coyle was once again the lone Boston scorer, with the Bruins going 1-for-5, dropping them to a woeful 2-for-16 on the shootout this season.
It was a hard-luck loss for Halak, as he took a 42-save shootout loss, while Holtby only needed to make 21 saves for the win. The win was good for Holtby’s sixth straight victory at TD Garden dating back to 2014. He is their boogeyman.
Patrice Bergeron was scratched from this contest due to a lower-body injury. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy seemed to stress that this was more preventative than anything else, saying that Bergeron likely would have played had this not been the second leg of a back-to-back that began with last night’s 4-2 win over the Maple Leafs.
With Bergeron out, Boston native Paul Carey was recalled from Providence and skated in his first NHL game of the 2019-20 season. The recall and subsequent game action made Carey the 20th different forward to play for the B’s this season.
The Bruins will now travel to New Jersey for a Tuesday meeting with the Devils.