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Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Feb 10, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Nicolas Aube-Kubel (96) battles for the puck against Boston Bruins center Jakub Lauko (94) and center Morgan Geekie (39) during the second period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

If you thought Tuesday against the Flames was bad, I sure hope you had plans and found yourself unable to watch Saturday’s head-to-head between the Bruins and Capitals at TD Garden.

Blanked for the first time all season in what finished as a 3-0 loss for the Black and Gold, there was simply nothing the Bruins could do to generate any sort of positive momentum for themselves.

“I think it’s mental for sure,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said of his team’s second ugly-looking loss in five days. “It’s preparation. It’s focus. It’s wanting to sacrifice for the greater good. And if you look at the totality of the season, it’s pretty good. But there’s moments [like] in December where it’s been like those two games.”

  • And the B’s struggles were constant in this one.

    Boston finished the opening frame with just four shots on goal (and it took almost 12 minutes for the Bruins to get their first shot of the game on Charlie Lindgren), and that paced remained the same by the end of two periods, with just eight shots on goal. It had the Bruins paced for what would’ve been their lowest single-game shot output in over 20 years, and though the Bruins landed 10 shots on goal in the third and final frame, they failed to make any sort of push in this game. Even after three straight third-period power-play opportunities over the final 11 and a half minutes of action.

    In fact, their 18-shot outing was their worst shooting night from a volume output since a Mar. 2021 loss to the Rangers.

    Here are the 98.5 The Sports Hub (dot com) 3 Stars from a loss to the Capitals…

  • Third Star: Alex Ovechkin

    Feb 10, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 10, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

    It hasn’t been the year that we’ve come to expect out of Washington captain Alex Ovechkin.

    But the 38-year-old Ovechkin made sure his first 2023-24 showing against the Bruins came with a throwback performance, including a primary assist and an empty-net goal, in just over 19 minutes of deployment.

    B/R Open Ice on Twitter: "All-Time Empty Net Goals Leader... Alex Ovechkin #57 🚨 pic.twitter.com/oxdMwY2Qok / Twitter"

    All-Time Empty Net Goals Leader... Alex Ovechkin #57 🚨 pic.twitter.com/oxdMwY2Qok

    While it was Ovechkin’s pass to Dylan Strome on the goal that made it 2-0 that was probably his highlight of the evening, Ovechkin also came through with some strong defensive-zone recovery to pressure Jakub Lauko and deny him a clean breakaway opportunity at the end of Boston’s five-minute major penalty.

    It wasn’t a move that’s going to land Ovechkin on any Selke ballots, sure, but the Capitals giving up a goal in that situation would’ve given the Bruins plenty of life, and his presence alone seemed to throw Lauko off what was a great chance, and on a day where the B’s didn’t have many.

  • Second Star: Jeremy Swayman

    Jan 18, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 18, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

    Had it not been for the play of the Bruins’ Jeremy Swayman, there’s a good chance that the Capitals put up four or five goals in the opening period of this contest.

    Hit with 15 shots in the opening 20 minutes of action, Swayman went a perfect 15-for-15 in the Boston net, and was on top of his game throughout the period. Even with what was best described as minimal support, both from the offense and the defensemen in front of Swayman, who surrendered inside ice at an alarmingly high clip.

    But even when the Capitals finally broke through on Swayman, it took a stick-less Brandon Carlo laying down and by all means taking himself out of the play, and another breakdown that gave the Capitals easy access to the net.

    Swayman finished this game with a 25-for-27 effort in the Boston crease, and stopped eight of the nine high-danger shots he faced at all-situation play (per NaturalStatTrick).

  • First Star: T.J. Oshie

    Feb 10, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) shoots the puck against the Boston Bruins during the second period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 10, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) shoots the puck against the Boston Bruins during the second period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports)

    Give T.J. Oshie time and space, and he’s gonna burn ‘ya.

    The Bruins learned that the hard way Saturday as an out-of-sorts penalty kill was left swimming (and drowning), and allowed to sit back and wait for a pass to hit his blade and rip one through Swayman for the game’s first goal.

    Oshie wasn’t done, however, and helped spring the Capitals for the goal that made it 2-0.

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