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Sluggish Bruins blanked by Capitals, 3-0

Steve Conroy, Boston Herald on

Published in Hockey

BOSTON — The week was a weird one for the Bruins.

It started off with a bad loss to the Calgary Flames that could have been chalked up the game being the first one back from the long All-Star break. The B’s followed that up with a dominant win over the league-leading Vancouver Canucks that many assumed would set them back on their winning ways.

No so fast.

Against a Washington Capitals team that started the day eight points out of a playoff spot, the B’s gave perhaps their most anemic performance of the season, losing 3-0 at TD Garden. It wasn’t that close. It was the B’s first shutout loss since Jan. 12, 2023 against the Seattle Kraken at the Garden.

The Bruins started out slowly and made things harder on themselves late in the first but managed to get out of the opening period at a scoreless draw thanks to Jeremy Swayman.

The B’s spent barely any time in the Washington zone in the first and got outshot 14-4 in the first 20 minutes. The B’s didn’t get their first shot on net — a good backhander by call-up Anthony Richard making his Bruin debut — until 11:33 into the game.

The chances on Swayman, meanwhile, got increasingly more difficult. He made a terrific pad save on Nick Jensen on a backdoor play and later snatched an in-tight wrister off the stick of Alex Ovechkin.

Late in the period, the B’s got tagged with a five-minute major — from the most unlikeliest of sources.

 

After Max Pacioretty hit Matt Grzelcyk into the end boards on a borderline late hit, Grzelcyk came out from behind and went to cover Pacioretty. Whether he was upset at the previous hit or just playing basic defense, Grzelcyk got Pacioretty in a very delicate area with his stick blade. Pacioretty went down and was a great deal of pain. Grzelcyk was hit with a five-minute major and a game misconduct, upheld on review with 1:47 left in the period.

The injury was not debilitating, however, because Pacioretty returned in the second period to set up T.J. Oshie in the slot for a wrister that finally solved Swayman. Brandon Carlo was playing without a stick and was on the ice ice trying to deny the Pacioretty pass but it got through to Oshie and he beat the netminder under the glove at 1:05.

The B’s continued to have difficulty generating in the offensive zone, even when they got their first power play, courtesy of an Oshie slash. After they had passed up one too many shots for a cute play that didn’t connect, a balcony leather lung screamed “shoot it!” No rebuttals were heard. Halfway through the game, the B’s had just five shots on net.

When Brad Marchand landed the team’s seventh shot with a minute left in the second, the crowd gave a loud mock cheer. A minute later, the fans were done being cute, booing the B’s off the ice. The Caps held a 23-8 shot advantage but, thanks to Swayman, the B’s were one shot away from tying the game in the third. But getting a shot was not exactly easy for them on this day.

But the Caps didn’t waste on time stretching the lead at 3:27 of the third. With the B’s trying somehow create something, Ovechkin broke in on a 2-on-1 with Dylan Strome, dishing to Strome for a roof job.

The B’s got three power plays, including one with 2:56 when Oveckin went to the box for hooking. But after the B’s couldn’t get beat Charlie Lindgren with Swayman on the bench and the B’s on a 6-on-4, Ovechkin scored an empty netter to finally put the B’s out of their misery.


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