September 21, 2019

Washington Capitals Game 12 Recap: Caps besiege the Bruins

FIRST GOALS FOR BROOKS LAICH AND KARL ALZNER HELP CAPS TOP BRUINS

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 05: Brooks Laich #21 of the Washington Capitals celebrates scoring a second period goal against the Boston Bruins at Verizon Center on November 5, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Last week Karl Alzner and Justin Williams mentioned a lofty hope for the season; do not lose back-to-back games. A simple proposition, much more difficult to execute. After an ugly loss to the New York Rangers on the road Tuesday, the Washington Capitals returned to Verizon Center looking to keep that hope alive.

Alex Ovechkin scored his seventh goal of the season and the Caps indeed avoided losing consecutive games, knocking off the Boston Bruins 4-1.

It took 193 minutes and a handful of seconds, and an entire season of head-to head-games, until Braden Holtby finally gave up a goal to the Bruins.

With the win, Washington improved to 9-3-0 this season, tying the best start in franchise history. The Capitals also registered a 9-3-0 record through 12 games in 1991-92 and 2011-12.

It only took the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin five minutes to respond.

The No. 1 power-play unit in the league finally got a puck around Holtby about midway through the first, a nifty wrister from Jimmy Hays of the Bruins found the net quickly and ended the shutout streak.

Holtby then started a new streak against the Bruins. Making save after save for the rest of the night, he finished with one goal allowed on 29 shots.

Holtby spoke on the defense in front of him after the Caps took the lead, “I think our forecheck was really good in the third period. We did a good job realizing that we had a lead and we didn’t need any more goals really, not to say we weren’t going to push for them, but we weren’t taking chances in order to get them.”

“Its how you win hockey games, trying to just be patient, you have a lead you make sure you didn’t give it up by mistakes you don’t have to make.”

Ovechkin countered the Bruins goal when he caught a puck that was deflected off Bruins goalie Tukka Rask. Ovechkin stretched out, lifted Zedano Chara’s stick with his own, and tapped the puck in as he fell to the ice, a feat that was even prettier on replay.  Ovechkin now sits two goals behind Sergei Fedorov for first place among Russian players in career goals.

The tied score was broken quickly in the second, when Brooks Laich deflected in a Dmitry Orlov wrist shot from the blue line that brought a small ounce of relief for the Caps’ must tenured player — it was his first goal of the season.

Another monkey fell off the Caps’ backs soon after that. The Caps went on a five-on-three power play after the Bruins had some “after the whistle” issues. Nicklas Backstrom held the puck until the exact moment the Bruins’ defenders moved their sticks, then sent a slick pass across the goal to John Carlson. A quick snap of the stick, and the Caps were up 3-1. It was the first successful power play in ten chances for the Caps.

The final Bruin threat came when Rask was pulled with over two-and-a-half minutes left in the third. The Capitals took full advantage of that time. After the puck was carried into the Caps offensive zone the Bruins attempted to clear it out. Karl Alzner caught the puck at mid-ice and with a soaring shot, send it past the lone Bruin defender and into the goal, for Alzner’s first goal of the season. Caps win 4-1.

“I think you can get yourselves into a tailspin if you don’t focus on a good bounce back, you lose two and next thing you know its three and you lose ground fast. It’s always a goal of ours.” Said Alzner of the team goal of not losing back-to-backs.

At the end of the night, the Caps appeared to play a much-needed complete game. With solid play on the penalty kill, power play, and 5-on-5, the hope of not losing two in a row lives on for at least a few more days.

Next Game: Saturday at Verizon Center vs the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7 p.m.

Caps Notes:

  • Capitals top prospect Jakub Vrana is out 3-4 months with a wrist injury.
  • Braden Holtby started his first NHL game 5 years ago tonight.
  • John Carlson registered his 200th career NHL point with an assist on the Ovechkin goal.
  • Michael Latta earned the Caps first fighting major of the season tonight.
  • Barry Trotz was named to the Team Canada coaching staff  as an assistant for Worlds earlier in the day.
About Jacqueline Martin

Jacqueline Martin is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page. She grew up in Northern Virginia and has developed a deep love for all things sports and all things DC. While attending American University she worked for the athletics department and followed the Men’s NCAA Basketball team to their first ever apperance in the tourney. She is an aspiring journalist whose ideal day job is running a large DC sports bar that favored only DC teams. If she is not in her office you may find her at Kettler attempting to skate backwards. You can follow her on twitter @JacqueMMartin.

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