Boston Bruins

Dec 11, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) and Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) battle for the puck in the third period at Capital One Arena. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

By Ty Anderson,

A battle of the top two teams in the NHL went to the best on Wednesday night, as TJ Oshie and the Capitals handed the Bruins their fourth straight loss by a 3-2 final at Capital One Arena.

Out to a 1-0 lead behind David Pastrnak’s league-leading 26th strike of the year, the Bruins appeared to take a two-goal lead behind a Patrice Bergeron poke through Braden Holtby on the power play at the 15:35 mark of the first period.

But a coach’s challenge from the Capitals revealed that Jake DeBrusk was in ahead of the puck 20 seconds before the Bruins found the back of the net, nullifying the Boston goal for what felt like the millionth time this season.

Naturally, the Capitals used that break to their advantage, as Oshie banged a second-chance look through Jaroslav Halak four and a half minutes into the second period, and beat Halak on a breakaway just three and a half minutes after that to give the Capitals a one-goal edge through 40 minutes of action.

Up against it against the most notorious Bruin Killer in the land in Holtby, the Bruins seemed doomed entering the third period, but a Sean Kuraly tip through traffic brought the Bruins and Capitals even at 2-2 just 2:53 into the third period.

After what felt like a root canal process to get the game back even, the Capitals needed just 1:49 to respond, as John Carlson activated (and went untouched) to blast a bullet through Halak to give the Caps a 3-2 lead.

And despite a last-minute push from the Bruins with their net empty, that score held as the final, with Holtby stopping 30 of the 32 shots thrown his way for his 18th career victory against the Bruins (and in just 21 head-to-heads with Boston).

Halak, meanwhile, finished with 22 saves for his second straight loss.

Defenseman Connor Clifton returned to the B’s lineup after sitting as a healthy scratch for the last three contests, and finished with three hits and two blocked shots in 11:14 of time on ice.

Boston’s power-play unit scuffled once again, posting an 0-for-5 mark, dropping them to 1-for-17 over their four-game skid that’s come with just one of a possible eight points. It’s also the Black and Gold’s first four-game segment with fewer than two points since a four-game slide the team suffered in Nov. 2017.

The Bruins will look for a quick rebound with a Thursday night meeting with the Lightning.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.