November 17, 2019

Washington Capitals Game 81 Recap: Holtby stellar in Caps’ win over Bruins

Three times this season, the Boston Bruins went up against Braden Holtby. Three times they exited the ice without a single goal.

Holtby made 27 saves and Washington scored two goals early in the first period en route to a 3-0 win over the Bruins on Wednesday night at Verizon Center.

The win certifies that the Caps will play in the 2-3 matchup in the Metro Division. If the Islanders lost Thursday night, the Capitals will finish as the No. 2 seed.

Nicklas Backstrom had a helper on each of the Caps’ first two goals, which came in the first eight minutes of the contest. John Carlson scored his 12th of the year at 4:49, and Matt Niskanen’s fourth came via a wicked slapshot from the right point.

“I liked our response right out of the gate,” coach Barry Trotz said. “I thought we sort of set the tone. We were skating. We were making plays. We went after them, and we weren’t sitting back. I liked the mentality. I think that’s so important. They had a lot of urgency. We knew they had a desperate team.”

Evgeny Kuznetsov helped push the Washington lead to three late in the second, as he fed Marcus Johansson with a gorgeous backhand pass from beneath the goal line, and Johansson finished past Rask to provide for the final score line.

“It’s fun. It’s a milestone to get” Johansson said. “Barry [Trotz] wants me to score more. It’s a fun way to do it, and I don’t mind doing it. It was an unbelievable play by Kuzy [Evgeny Kuznetsov]. Scoring goals is fun, but most importantly we won the game and we kept going. We’ve got a really good feeling in here.”

The Capitals posted a 3-0-0 record against Boston this season and outscored the Bruins 9-0. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the Capitals are the first team in NHL history to win every game via shutout in a season series of at least three games.

CAPS NOTES

  • By any metric, it was a memorable night for Holtby. He tied the single-season franchise record for wins at 41 (Olie Kolzig, 1999-2000), and will have a chance to break it in the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon against the Rangers. His nine shutouts also tied the Caps’ single-season mark for that category (Jim Carey, 1995-96).
  • Marcus Johansson set a personal record for single-season points with 47, breaking the mark of 46 he set in 2011-12.
  • In 88 shots against the Capitals this season, Boston didn’t convert on a single one. That’s the first time in the 90-year history of that club where they went an entire season series of two games or more without scoring a single goal.
  • Although the outcome was all but certain with 10 minutes left, it was in that time frame where the Capitals arguably controlled the game the best, shutting down any Boston chances in the Washington zone and directing the tempo of the game in their favor.
  • Winger Stanislav Galiev made his NHL debut.
  • With one game left in the regular season, nobody can fault Caps fans for thinking about the playoffs. With Wednesday’s win, they no longer have to worry about holding one of the wild card positions in the Metropolitan Division. They’ll likely play either the Islanders or Pittsburgh, who currently sit in third and fourth place in the Metro, respectively. While Washington has won nine of their last 12, New York has lost nine of their last 12 and the Penguins have lost 10 of 13.
About Eric Hobeck

Eric Hobeck is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins and Capitals. Eric contributes to high school sports coverage at InsideNova.com. He served as sports editor of The Rotunda at Longwood University for two years, where he was also the men’s basketball beat writer. He hosted a campus radio show for three years and called basketball and baseball games for the station’s award-winning sports team. You can follow Eric on Twitter @eric_hobeck.

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