Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Apr 15, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) prepares to make a save on Washington Capitals center Dylan Strome (17) in the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Monday night’s showdown at Capital One Arena in Washington meant a whole lot more to the Capitals than it did the Bruins.

Boston came into play with a chance to secure their second straight Atlantic Division title, sure, but the Capitals? The Capitals were playing for their season. On death’s door in a way-too-crowded wild card race that could potentially come down to a sixth tiebreaker should it go into full chaos mode between now and the end of the season, the Capitals took to the ice in need of a victory.

And they absolutely played like it.

  • In what was one of the strongest defensive efforts put forth against the Bruins this season, the Capitals gave Jim Montgomery’s club almost nothing throughout the night, and upped their intensity to a level that the Bruins just didn’t seem all that interested in matching.

    “I think the word ‘struggle’ is a compliment with the way we played tonight,” Montgomery offered after the loss. “I thought Washington… their desperation, how well they defended, [and] how well they hung onto pucks in the offensive zone, that’s how we want to play.”

    With the defeat, the Bruins suffered their second shutout loss of the season (both against the Caps).

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

  • Third Star: Charlie Lindgren

    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 15: Goalie Charlie Lindgren #79 of the Washington Capitals tends the net against the Boston Bruins during the third period at Capital One Arena on April 15, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

    WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 15: Goalie Charlie Lindgren #79 of the Washington Capitals tends the net against the Boston Bruins during the third period at Capital One Arena on April 15, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

    Washington netminder Charlie Lindgren‘s season finale against the Bruins featured some light work, all things considered, as he had to turn aside just 16 shots in total for the shutout victory. Excluding early exits and relief appearances, the 16-save victory was Lindgren’s lightest workload in a winning effort this season, and earned him his second shutout against the Bruins this season.

    Whether or not this was his own personal revenge for the Bruins trading his brother (and current Rangers defenseman) Ryan back in 2018, Lindgren became just the seventh goaltender to post multiple shutouts over the Bruins in the same season since 2005. The other goalies on that list: Montreal’s Cristobal Huet (2005-06) and Jaroslav Halak (2006-07), New York’s Henrik Lundqvist (2007-08), Washington’s Braden Holtby (2014-15), Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk (2016-17), and Carolina’s Freddie Andersen (2021-22).

  • Second Star: Jeremy Swayman

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 11: Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins takes a break during a stop in play in the second period of a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on January 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Bruins 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 11: Jeremy Swayman #1 of the Boston Bruins takes a break during a stop in play in the second period of a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on January 11, 2024. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Even in a loss, Monday felt like a step forward for the Bruins’ Jeremy Swayman.

    Back in net after a 22-of-26 loss against the Hurricanes last week, Swayman responded with a strong 23-save outing, and took a hard-luck loss with just one goal against. And believe me, this one would’ve been a lot worse for the Black and Gold without the dialed-in performance of the 25-year-old Swayman.

    Swayman, who at one point was borderline playing himself out of the Bruins committing themselves to a playoff rotation in goal, has now posted a .919 save percentage (91 saves on 99 shots) over his last four outings, and has allowed two goals or fewer in three of those four contests.

  • First Star: John Carlson

    Apr 15, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (74) celebrates with Capitals center Dylan Strome (17) after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins in the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 15, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (74) celebrates with Capitals center Dylan Strome (17) after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

    The only skater to beat a goaltender in this one, John Carlson put the Capitals on the board with the only goal needed early in this one, with his blast hammered by Swayman at the 12-minute mark of the opening period.

    Sportsnet on Twitter: "John Carlson opens the scoring with a bomb from the point! 💣 pic.twitter.com/NkuFaUfJuB / Twitter"

    John Carlson opens the scoring with a bomb from the point! 💣 pic.twitter.com/NkuFaUfJuB

    While Carlson’s goal had an awful lot to do with a miscommunication between Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle, Carlson had the veteran know-how to dish the puck and then open himself back up for an even better look on Swayman.

    In addition to the goal, Carlson added one block, one hit, and tallied four shots on goal.

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