Another night and another game-winning shorthanded goal from Bruins winger Brad Marchand, who went deep into his bag of undermanned tricks to beat the Capitals’ Ilya Samsonov in the second period of a 4-2 victory in Washington.
“I think that the biggest thing that separates guys — from the junior level to the college level to the NHL — is to translate it to higher speeds,” Marchand said. “It’s something I work a lot on, too.
“Obviously you’re trying to be smart about attacking [when on the penalty kill], but anytime you have a forward playing defense, you want to take advantage. He’s uncomfortable.”
Marchand’s second shorthanded goal in as many games, the tally stood as the 30th shorthanded marker of the 5-foot-9 winger’s career, and moved him into a tie with Bob Pulford for the 22nd-most in NHL history. It also moved Marchand into five-way tie for the 23rd-most shorthanded points in NHL history, with 49.
Up by three, with Jeremy Lauzon and Anton Blidh putting the Bruins on the board before Marchand’s tally at the 4:09 mark of the middle frame, the Capitals took a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage to bring themselves back in this contest.
With Blidh called for a slash and a rough on the same sequence before Jakub Zboril was whistled for interference just 1:25 later, the Capitals put themselves on the board with an Alex Ovechkin power-play bomb. And then brought themselves within one behind a quick wrister from TJ Oshie through a defenseless Jeremy Swayman.
The Caps’ strikes came within a 19-second stretch, and could’ve put the Bruins on the ropes.
“Full 5-on-3’s… those are tough, especially against this team,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We addressed it in the room. We kind of just moved on from it, I guess, is the easiest way to put it.”
That started in net, too, with Swayman shutting down all 10 third-period shots thrown his way, and finishing with 31 saves on 33 shots faced, giving him two victories in two starts to begin his NHL career.
“As a goalie, all I wanna do is stop the puck and help my teammates,” Swayman said. “At the end of the day, I play for the Boston Bruins and all I wanna do is win, and I’m happy we came out with the win.”
Swayman with another stop — this time on Kuznetsov.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 9, 2021
16 saves so far. pic.twitter.com/jxk9W5KT3V
Swayman’s career is off to one hell of a start, too, all things considered, with stops on 71-of-75 shots faced (a .947 save percentage). The context of those goals allowed is also key, as the goals in Philly came off a turnover and then with the Bruins stuck in their own end and with a skater without a stick, while Thursday’s goals allowed came courtesy of Ovechkin and Oshie, and with the Bruins on the wrong end of a 5-on-3.
“We heard [Swayman] was a great goalie,” said Marchand. “He’s as advertised.”
The Bruins also helped Swayman with an insurance power-play marker from Craig Smith scored with 3:05 left in the third.
Boston played this one without fourth-line forward Trent Frederic, who is dealing with a non-COVID illness, which threw Blidh into action for his sixth appearance of the season. (That move seemed to work out just fine.)
The Bruins’ Charlie McAvoy also missed his second straight game due to an upper-body injury.
Cassidy’s squad will make their way back to Philly for a Saturday rematch with the Flyers.