The week was a bizarre one for the Bruins.
It began off with a foul loss to the Calgary Flames that would have been chalked up the sport being the primary one again from the lengthy All-Star break. The B’s adopted that up with a dominant win over the league-leading Vancouver Canucks that many assumed would set again on their profitable methods.
No so quick.
Against a Washington Capitals staff that began the day eight factors out of a playoff spot, the B’s gave maybe one in every of their most anemic performances of the season, dropping 3-0 on the Garden. It wasn’t that shut. It was the B’s first shutout loss since Jan. 12, 2023 in opposition to the Seattle Kraken on the Garden they usually bought a season-low 18 pictures on internet, 10 of which got here within the third interval.
As was the case on the finish of the second interval, the B’s left the ice to a cascade of boos. And John Q. Public didn’t get an argument from the top coach.
“I love our fans. They’re hockey knowledgeable,” mentioned Jim Montgomery. “And they’re not wrong.”
For a staff whose hallmark is its compete degree, Montgomery was at a loss to elucidate how his staff may get nothing going offensively.
“I don’t have answers. If I did, I would have given it to them,” mentioned Montgomery. “But it’s not acceptable. And we’re not going to accept it. We will change or things will change.”
He was requested if these adjustments could possibly be personnel.
“I don’t know. Systems … we’re going to have to look at everything,” mentioned Montgomery, who likened these two unhealthy video games to those in Minnesota and Winnipeg earlier than the Christmas break. “But it just comes down to, if there’s a puck between you and I, I want to break your leg to get it. And we don’t have that in two of the last three games. That’s what it boils down. It’s unacceptable. We were just bad.”
The Bruins began out slowly and made issues tougher on themselves late within the first however managed to get out of the opening interval at a scoreless draw because of Jeremy Swayman (25 saves).
The B’s spent barely any time within the Washington zone within the first and bought outshot 14-4 within the first 20 minutes. The B’s didn’t get their first shot on internet – a superb backhander by call-up Anthony Richard making his Bruin debut – till 11:33 into the sport.
The probabilities on Swayman, in the meantime, bought more and more harder. 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 within the interval, the B’s bought tagged with a five-minute main – from essentially the most unlikeliest of sources.
After Max Pacioretty hit Matt Grzelcyk into the tip boards on a borderline late hit, Grzelcyk got here out from behind and went to cowl Pacioretty. Whether he was upset on the earlier hit or simply taking part in fundamental protection, Grzelcyk bought Pacioretty in a really delicate space along with his stick blade. Pacioretty went down and was an excessive amount of ache. Grzelcyk was hit with a five-minute main and a recreation misconduct, upheld on evaluation with 1:47 left within the interval.
The harm was not debilitating, nonetheless, as a result of Pacioretty returned within the second interval to arrange T.J. Oshie within the slot for a wrister that lastly solved Swayman. Brandon Carlo was taking part in with no stick and was on the ice ice attempting to disclaim the Pacioretty go but it surely bought by means of to Oshie and he beat the netminder beneath the glove at 1:05.
The B’s continued to have issue producing within the offensive zone, even after they bought their first energy play, courtesy of an Oshie slash. After they’d handed up one too many pictures for a cute play that didn’t join, a balcony leather-based lung screamed “shoot it!” No rebuttals had been heard. Halfway by means of the sport, the B’s had simply 5 pictures on internet.
When Brad Marchand landed the staff’s seventh shot with a minute left within the second, the gang gave a loud mock cheer. A minute later, the followers had been carried out being cute, booing the B’s off the ice. The Caps held a 23-8 shot benefit however, because of Swayman, the B’s had been one shot away from tying the sport within the third. But getting a shot was not precisely straightforward for them on today.
“We passed up a couple of chances, but we didn’t even put ourselves in position to get shots. We didn’t win enough battles in areas where we could get some opportunities,” mentioned Marchand, taking part in in his 999th profession recreation. “We did pass up a few for sure, but we have to do a better job of creating.”
The Caps didn’t waste any time stretching the lead at 3:27 of the third. With the B’s attempting in some way create one thing, Ovechkin broke in on a 2-on-1 with Dylan Strome, dishing to Strome for a roof job.
Washington performed very stingy model of hockey, but it surely’s not just like the Caps didn’t attempt to assist their hosts out. The B’s bought three energy performs in third, together with one with 2:56 left when Oveckin went to the field for hooking. But after the B’s couldn’t beat Charlie Lindgren with Swayman on the bench and the B’s on a 6-on-4, Ovechkin scored an empty netter to lastly put the B’s out of their distress.