Bruins-Capitals Notes: Tuukka Rask Makes 36 Saves; B’s Offense Shut Out

Tuukka Rask did all he could to give the Boston Bruins a chance to secure at least one point in Sunday night’s game against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center in D.C.

The Bruins’ No. 1 goaltender made 36 saves on 38 shots for a .947 save percentage. Rask made 10 saves in the first five minutes, including an impressive sequence in which he made three consecutive stops in a span of a few seconds. Rask needed to be sharp because Washington earned a 57-47 edge in shot attempts and a 34-18 advantage in even-strength scoring chances, per War on Ice.

Rask’s impressive performance wasn’t enough, though, as the Capitals won 2-0 to snap the Bruins’ five-game win streak.

The reigning Vezina Trophy winner hid some of the Bruins’ problems during their win streak. Boston had a subpar 43.6 Corsi-for percentage and a minus-1 even-strength goal differential during the streak, but it was able to overcome those struggles with Rask posting a stellar .964 save percentage in that span.

Rask’s play over the last few weeks is encouraging for the Bruins, but they need to improve defensively to secure a playoff spot and build some momentum before the Stanley Cup playoffs. Rask is elite, but it would be unfair to expect him to maintain this level of play when the Bruins are being out shot and giving up quality scoring chances on a consistent basis.

— Boston’s offense was shut out for the fourth time this season. The B’s made a strong push in the third period with a 24-13 shot attempt advantage, but Holtby made several quality saves to keep Boston off the scoreboard. Both of the Bruins’ losses to the Capitals this season have been shutouts. These teams conclude their seasons series April 8 in Washington.

— The Bruins scored first in 11 straight games entering Sunday night. That streak ended when Capitals defenseman John Carlson scored at 12:43 of the first period.

— The Bruins won 36 of 63 draws (57 percent), led by Patrice Bergeron’s stellar 18-for-25 showing in the dot.

— Bruins center Carl Soderberg’s goalless drought was extended to 23 games. He tallied just one shot on goal despite receiving 20:37 of ice time.

— Bruins captain Zdeno Chara reached a milestone Sunday. [tweet align=”center”]

— The Bruins limited Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin, the NHL’s leading goal scorer, to four shots and zero points in 17:35 of ice time. Ovechkin scored twice when these teams met in October.

— Nicklas Backstrom tallied assists on both Capitals goals to give him 71 points (18 goals, 53 assists) in 70 games, one behind New York Islanders captain John Tavares for the league lead in scoring. [tweet align=”center”]

— Carlson’s first-period goal was his 11th of the season, which is a new career high. He’s now posted back-to-back double-digit goal seasons for the first time in his five full seasons at the NHL level. The Massachusetts native also has set a career high in points with 47.

Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images

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