A few hours before the New England Patriots played in Super Bowl LIII, Boston’s NHL team took the ice in Washington and dominated the opponent in a way that would make Bill Belichick proud.
The Boston Bruins frustrated and outmuscled the Washington Capitals on their way to a 1-0 decision at Capital One Arena Sunday afternoon, leaving the Capitals back in the loss column after they broke a seven-game skid two days prior.
The Bruins beat the Capitals (28-18-6, 62 points) in a regular-season game for the first time since March 29, 2014. Had the Capitals won for the 15th straight time, they would have made it the longest active winning streak for an NHL team against any one opponent.
Braden Holtby made 37 saves but got nothing in the way of run support from his teammates. The Bruins dominated in shots on goal, 38-24.
Thanks to Holtby’s first 15 saves of the afternoon, the first period went by without a goal. The Capitals killed off two penalties in close succession, but Reirden decided to bench the penalized players — Dmitrij Jaskin and Evgeny Kuznetsov — from 5-on-5 action for the rest of the period.
The Capitals muffed a power-play opportunity midway through the second period when Boston fourth-liner Chris Wagner went on a shorthanded breakaway. Holtby stuffed Wagner’s shot, but just seconds after the penalty was killed, David Krejci scored on a bang-bang pass from Torey Krug.
The Capitals’ best offensive chances came in the third frame, particularly a barrage of shots 10 minutes in. Jaskin had a clear shot, but Rask denied him. Brett Connolly flew in through the crease but lost his balance before being able to shoot.
The Bruins’ consistent physicality would often keep the Capitals’ sticks off the puck when close to a shot. Alex Ovechkin fired some last-minute 6-on-5 shots, but they wouldn’t go.
Washington played without center Lars Eller, who left the previous game early with a lower-body injury. But Ovechkin was back after a one-game ban for skipping the NHL All-Star Game.
The Capitals have four more games remaining in the homestand. It picks back up Tuesday with a visit from the Vancouver Canucks.