BOSTON — The Boston Bruins were unable to end their regular season on a high note, and they now must wait to see who they’ll play in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The B’s lost their regular-season finale 3-1 to the Washington Capitals on Saturday afternoon, ending the campaign with back-to-back losses at TD Garden. The Caps, who the B’s could face in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs, never trailed in the game.
Boston was unable to secure third place in the Atlantic Division as a result of this defeat. However, the Bruins still would finish in third if the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t earn three or more points from their last two games this weekend. If the Bruins finish third in the division, they’ll play the Ottawa Senators in Round 1. Boston would face Washington in the first round if it slips to the second wild card.
The Bruins fell to 44-31-7 with Saturday’s loss, while the Capitals improved to 55-18-8.
Here’s how it all went down.
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, who signed a three-year entry-level contract earlier in the week, made his NHL debut Saturday. He started at center in between Matt Beleskey and Drew Stafford on the third line. The 2015 second-round draft pick played 8:25 and didn’t tally a point or a shot.
Capitals left winger Marcus Johansson opened the scoring 4:21 into the game with a pretty backhand move to beat B’s goalie Anton Khudobin. Justin Williams picked up the only assist on Johansson’s 24th goal of the season.
Saturday also was Johansson’s 500th career NHL game.
LOWERING THE BOOM
Caps left winger Andre Burakovsky was crushed along the boards during the first period by B’s defenseman Kevan Miller. It was the first of several punishing hits between these teams.
Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo had to leave the action in the first period after being driven into the boards by Caps left winger Alex Ovechkin.
Ovechkin was not penalized on the play.
The Bruins announced at the start of the second period that Carlo had an upper body injury and wouldn’t return to the game. They already were without defenseman Torey Krug, who didn’t play Saturday after picking up a lower body injury in Thursday’s loss to the Ottawa Senators.
The Bruins tied the score 1-1 at 15:13 of the second period when defenseman Colin Miller buried a rebound chance. The puck crossed the goal line right as the net was moving out of place, but the play was reviewed and the original “good goal” call on the ice was upheld.
It took the Capitals just 56 seconds after Miller’s tying goal to take a 2-1 lead. Trade-deadline acquisition Kevin Shattenkirk fired a shot through traffic past B’s goalie Anton Khudobin.
Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom picked up assists on Shattenkirk’s 13th goal of the campaign.
CATCH A BREAK
Shattenkirk found the net again just 1:21 after his first second-period goal, but the tally was overturned because of goalie interference. Bruins interim head coach Bruce Cassidy used his coach’s challenge to review the call.
Washington kept attacking after the overturned goal and took a 3-1 lead on a pretty passing play that resulted in a goal by Williams. Nate Schmidt fed a nice pass to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who found Williams for a one-timer that Khudobin was unable to stop. The goal was scored with just 49.3 seconds remaining in the second period.
MIXING IT UP
Tuukka Rask replaced Khudobin in the Bruins net to begin the third period. The Bruins announced during the third frame that Khudobin wasn’t feeling well and that his return was unlikely. Rask finished the game and stopped all eight shots he faced.
Khudobin allowed three goals on 24 shots through two periods. His streak of five straight starts with two goals allowed or fewer was snapped.
The Stanley Cup playoffs begin Wednesday, April 12. However, the Bruins’ first-round opponent and start date is not yet set.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images