September 21, 2019

Washington Capitals Game 65 Recap: 100

NISKANEN GOAL IN OVERTIME LIFTS CAPS OVER BRUINS

It wasn’t easy. And it certainly wasn’t pretty. But they got it done.

The Washington Capitals penalty kill and goalie Philipp Grubauer did yeoman’s work and got it to overtime, where Matt Niskanen’s blast from the point beat Tuukka Rask and the Caps escaped Boston with a 2-1 win, pushing the season’s point total to 100. On March 5.

The Caps (48-13-4) become the 10th team in NHL history to reach 100 points in 65 games.

Grubauer had 24 saves, with several exceptional ones during an extended penalty kill in the second period, to earn the win.

Playing three-on-three in the extra session, Boston got a breakaway but Marcus Johansson hustled back to help break up the attack. Johansson raced the puck back into the offensive zone and gave it over to Andre Burakovsky. Burakovsky delayed, then saucered to Niskanen, who let loose the Nisk-cannon for goal No. 5 on the season, and his second game winner in the past week.

The Caps came out with a strong forecheck and survived the first five minutes of the game. But it didn’t last long, as their habit of surrendering the first goal continued.

The Bruins entered the zone with the Caps having numbers back, but the defenders — especially Nick Backstrom in the center of the ice — got caught watching the puck. Patrice Bergeron got loose in the slot and Brad Marchand’s pass found him perfectly in stride for the easy layup.

Washington had the better of play the rest of the frame, but trailed 1-0 after one.

Things got ugly in the second as a seemingly unending parade of Caps players went to the penalty box. In reality, there were just three infractions, but its seemed like more with the timing.

At the 5:36 mark, Alex Ovechkin was called for a major boarding penalty, clearly hitting Kevan Miller in the number against the boards. It appeared the Caps’ captain held up at the end to minimize the potential for injury, but Miller was slow to get up regardless, resulting in the major call. In the ensuing scrum, Marchand was called for a roughing minor.

Tom Wilson was then was called for goalie interference while trying to kill off Ovechkin’s penalty, so the Caps went down two men.

Behind Grubauer’s prowess though, the Caps killed off the remainder of the five-minute penalty.

To top it all off, there was a too-many-men call, and like the major the Caps killed it off without incident.

So despite all that, the Caps escaped the period tied at one, with Karl Alzner knotting it as the beneficiary of some Nick Backstrom passing magic.

The third period saw two more penalties for both teams, but no goals and they went to overtime.

NEXT GAME: The Caps travel to southern California to face the Anaheim Ducks on Monday at 10 p.m. Eastern.

 

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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