Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins struggled to solve Washington Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper in their return from the bye week, falling 2-1 for just their second home regulation loss of the season on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Spotty puck management doomed the Bruins at both ends of the ice, as over-passing caused missed opportunities on offense and turnovers led directly to Capitals goals at the other end.

A wild series of penalties ultimately led to the Capitals scoring the game’s first goal on a power play. The Bruins had a brief man advantage, but three Boston penalties in a span of 28 seconds put the Caps on a power play of their own. Nicklas Bäckström put Washington up 1-0 after whacking a loose puck past Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman, who couldn’t quite handle the rebound in heavy traffic around the net.

  • The Capitals went up 2-0 more than halfway through the second period, off the stick of an unlikely source. It was Garnet Hathaway that took full advantage of a turnover by Bruins winger Jakub Lauko on a failed breakout attempt, firing from the high slot and beating Swayman for his ninth goal of the season.

    The fluttering, off-speed puck looked stoppable for Swayman, but the Bruins netminder also had to fight through a brief screen, as defenseman Derek Forbort tried to clear the net-front.

  • Less than five minutes after the Hathaway goal, Bruins winger Nick Foligno got them back in it. Defenseman Connor Clifton got the play rolling by leading the zone entry, then a give-and-go from Taylor Hall found Clifton behind the net. Clifton then slickly backhanded the puck toward Foligno’s area in front.

    The veteran did the rest, gathering the puck and burying it short-side to make it 2-1. But that would be it for them on the scoreboard, as they struggled to generate quality scoring chances and tended to pass up good shots when they did get those chances.

  • In all, Swayman made 21 saves on 23 shots (.913 save percentage). Kuemper, meanwhile, stopped 27 of 28 Bruins shots in a Herculean effort. However, the Bruins could only muster eight high-danger scoring chances at 5-on-5, and have failed to reach double digits in that category in five of their last six games. They are 2-3-1 in that span.

    The Bruins are officially back in action after the All-Star break and bye week. Their next game comes on Tuesday, in a Valentine’s Day matchup with the Dallas Stars to start a quick two-game Western Conference road trip. They then play the at the Nashville Predators on Thursday, before returning home to face the New York Islanders on Saturday. There’s a good chance they get winger Jake DeBrusk back from a leg fracture at some point in the next week.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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