BOSTON — TD Yard was the property of one particular frustrated groan after a different Thursday night time, anything the Boston Bruins and their lovers have developed accustomed to when the Washington Capitals are in city and Braden Holtby is in web. Thirty-nine pucks hit him and ended up turned away, and that soundtrack of lamenting one particular oh-so-close chance after a different told the story of a activity the Bruins arguably dominated but the Capitals won, 4-2.
Washington prolonged its mastery in excess of Boston to 14 straight victories, and the team experienced Holtby to thank for this most current one particular. The Capitals are on a 3-activity profitable streak, in 1st place in the Metropolitan Division with a 4-stage cushion.
“If we ended up to discuss about one particular participant which is experienced a sizeable position [in the streak], we’d discuss about Holtby,” Mentor Todd Reirden claimed. “The affect that he’s experienced towards this team has been definitely a difference maker.”
The Bruins managed enjoy for most of the activity, and with the Capitals clinging to a one particular-target lead to start out the third time period, Washington was assessed a bench slight for much too several guys on the ice, awarding Boston its fifth energy enjoy. David Krejci scored to tie the activity at 2, and the Capitals ended up instantly in jeopardy of shedding their 1st activity to the Bruins in practically 5 yrs.
But just 69 seconds after Krejci’s target, heart Nicklas Backstrom calmly created his way down the ice on a rush in advance of inserting a shot just under goaltender Jaroslav Halak’s glove to place Washington back up.
The Capitals’ recent run of dominance towards the Bruins has confounded even Washington gamers. Boston’s previous gain was in March 2014, two coaches in the past for the Capitals, and even though the Bruins struggled in 2014-15 and 2015-16, missing the playoffs in back-to-back yrs, they ended up between the league’s ideal teams the earlier two seasons.
“It’s nothing at all you imagine about,” Backstrom claimed. “You imagine about Boston as a terrific, major team and a difficult team to enjoy towards and a difficult making to come in here and enjoy. Every single time you enjoy them, you know it is heading to be a challenging activity. It’s just lucky for us that we have been ready to be effective recently. . . .
“Holts was terrific back there, much too.”
Holtby entered Thursday’s activity 15-2- towards the Bruins in excess of his vocation with 4 shutouts, a 1.84 ambitions towards ordinary and a .943 preserve share. His 1st NHL gain arrived towards Boston in 2010, and Holtby’s breakout arrived in a 2012 7-activity playoff collection towards the Bruins. Just 20 minutes into Thursday’s activity, Holtby once more established himself as the ideal participant on the ice when these two teams fulfill.
After the activity, Holtby was bluntly asked, “Do you sense like you very own the Bruins?” He chuckled and shook his head.
“We enjoy quite great hockey towards them,” Holtby claimed. “We’ve experienced good results towards them, but they’ve often been great video games. It’s just one particular of individuals points that would seem to just materialize, but they are a pleasurable team to enjoy towards. They function difficult, and they struggle, particularly in challenging spots. So I imagine that could be why we’re so engaged in the activity when we enjoy them, because they enjoy a difficult design and style of hockey each activity.”
Holtby experienced 17 will save at 1st intermission, and six of individuals will save ended up on pictures in just 20 ft of the web. The Bruins also experienced two energy performs. In a body Boston dominated — the Capitals experienced just 5 pictures in the opening time period — Holtby was a brick wall in web.
Washington received an early lead when winger Jakub Vrana sneaked powering Bruins defensemen Torey Krug and John Moore and T.J. Oshie’s extend move sprung him for a breakaway. He scored two ambitions towards Philadelphia two evenings in advance of, and his tally Thursday was his 15th.
As this collection has developed lopsided of late, some bad blood has built, and the activity received progressively feistier. Boston’s Brad Marchand instigated a struggle with Washington’s Lars Eller in the year-opening conference between the teams 3 months in the past — Marchand took problem with how Eller celebrated scoring the seventh target in a 7- Washington gain — so Eller preferred retribution in the next time period of Thursday’s activity. Marchand declined the struggle, and Eller was hit with an unsportsmanlike carry out penalty 7:43 into the body.
“Everybody observed what he is,” Eller claimed. “I never imagine there’s a large amount of integrity in his activity.”
Claimed Marchand: “I have not appeared at the stat sheet, but I definitely never sense like I need to have to confirm just about anything. He performs maybe 10 to 12 minutes a night time, and I’m participating in 20. In a 1- activity and to go on a energy enjoy, it doesn’t make perception.”
The Capitals withstood that energy enjoy, but the Bruins managed to crack Holtby for a 1st time when forward Ryan Donato took a move from Krug and skated up to the right faceoff circle in advance of ripping a wrist shot. Washington responded just 39 seconds later Tom Wilson’s function alongside the wall set up Alex Ovechkin for his league-main 31st target. That gave Washington a 2-1 lead at next intermission, at which stage Holtby experienced a whopping 27 will save through 40 minutes.
“I simply cannot explain to you why he performs as great as he does and why there’s been a little bit more good results here,” Oshie claimed. “He’s just a terrific goaltender.”
As the activity received more bodily and chaotic, Holtby remained poised in web, pivoting from one particular put up to a different as the Bruins introduced more than 40 pictures at him. Ovechkin’s empty-web target in the final two minutes sealed it, and when the final buzzer sounded, Holtby’s stance in web at last relaxed as TD Yard emptied.