Bruins-Capitals Notes: Boston’s Offense Struggles; Braden Holtby Ties Team Records

The Boston Bruins’ offense was shut out by the Washington Capitals for the third time this season in a 3-0 loss Wednesday night.

Boston tallied 27 shots and created 25 scoring chances, per War on Ice, but Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made several tremendous saves to earn his ninth shutout of the season (third against the B’s) and improve his career record versus the Bruins to 7-2-0.

The Bruins managed just five shots in the third period despite trailing by three goals. Gregory Campbell and Carl Soderberg failed to tally a single shot on goal even though they played 15:30 and 14:30, respectively. Washington earned a 33-27 SOG advantage as a result.

The Bruins rank 23rd in goals scored and 24th with an 8.4 shooting percentage this season. Since March 15, the B’s have scored just 24 goals, the fourth-fewest of any team in the league. The power play also is struggling with a 1-for-15 slump in the last six games.

Not being able to finish has been a major issue for the B’s all season, and with zero room for error in the playoff race, this could be a problem in the final two regular-season games because the Florida Panthers (Roberto Luongo) and Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop) both have very good goaltenders.

—  Despite trailing for nearly the entire game, Bruins head coach Claude Julien did not give much ice time to Milan Lucic, Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak, the three forwards who led the Bruins in scoring in March. Here’s a look at the forwards who finished with less than 15 minutes of even-strength TOI, including their shot attempt differential.

Player ES TOI CF CA Corsi +/-
Carl Soderberg 14:25 11 15 -4
Brad Marchand 14:18 20 15 5
Reilly Smith 14:15 19 8 11
Gregory Campbell 14:07 7 14 -7
Chris Kelly 13:54 15 9 6
David Krejci 13:22 11 14 -3
Ryan Spooner 13:14 25 8 17
Brett Connolly 12:54 9 8 1
Milan Lucic 11:55 16 12 4
David Pastrnak 11:18 14 15 -1

Julien reunited the Lucic-Spooner-Pastrnak line in the third period, but by that time it was too late. These were the lines that Julien used to finish the game, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them to start Thursday’s matchup with the Florida Panthers.

Marchand-Bergeron-Krejci
Eriksson-Soderberg-Smith
Lucic-Spooner-Pastrnak
Campbell-Kelly-Connolly

— Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, who started his 10th straight game, made 30 saves on 33 shots for a .909 save percentage. He’s now 1-6-3 all-time against the Capitals.

— The only area in which Boston dominated was the faceoff circle. The B’s won 39 of 63 faceoffs, led by Patrice Bergeron at 71 percent (22 for 31). Ryan Spooner, who has struggled on draws throughout his NHL career, went 7 for 11. Spooner has worked on faceoffs after practice, sometimes with Bergeron, in recent weeks and it seems to be helping.

— Another bright spot in Wednesday’s loss was the Bruins’ penalty kill. It went 3 for 3 against a Capitals power play that leads the league with a 25.3 percent success rate.

— Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom tallied two assists, giving him six assists in three games against the Bruins this season. He’s now tied with Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek for the league lead in assists with 59.

— Capitals left winger Marcus Johansson scored in the third period to reach the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career.

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— Holtby earned his 41st win of the season, which ties the franchise record for a single season set by Olaf Kolzig in 1999-00. His nine shutouts also tie a franchise record set by Jim Carey in 1995-96.

— The Capitals swept their season series against the Bruins for the first time since 1982-83 and also made some history.

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Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Apr 8, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Loui Eriksson (21) skates with the puck in front of Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) in the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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