BOSTON — The Bruins gave the Washington Capitals all they could handle Tuesday night, but it wasn’t enough to beat the NHL’s best team in a 3-2 loss at TD Garden.
Washington’s depth shined as its second and third lines produced three goals, while Boston shut down the high-powered Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie trio.
The victory gives the Caps the league’s best record with 61 points through 39 games.
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Marcus Johansson scored to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead with 9:19 remaining in regulation. It proved to be the game-winner as Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins to make it 3-2 late in the third period. Boston mounted a late charge with the goalie pulled and less than two minutes remaining, but the Capitals held on.
JOONAS IS BACK
Bruins center Joonas Kempainnen played in his first game since Dec. 7. He missed Boston’s previous 11 games with an upper body injury.
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
Russian center Evgeny Kuznetsov is enjoying a breakout season for the Capitals, and we saw a good example of his high-end offensive skill on Washington’s first goal. He broke free from an opponent and fed a beautiful pass to linemate Andre Burakovsky for the opening tally.
LOWERING THE BOOM
This hit by Bruins forward Zac Rinaldo on Capitals forward Tom Wilson got the TD Garden crowd all fired up in the first period. Wilson usually is on the other end of these hits, but he couldn’t brace himself before Rinaldo lowered the boom.
Caps forward Jason Chimera went after Rinaldo immediately following the hit and took a penalty, but the B’s failed to score on the ensuing power play.
WILD SECOND PERIOD
The Bruins and Capitals played an eventful second frame.
Early in the period, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was hit from behind along the boards by Capitals forward Zach Sill and had to leave the game. No penalty was called, though.
Kuznetsov doubled Washington’s lead a few minutes later with a power-play goal.
It didn’t take long for the B’s to respond as Loui Eriksson scored his 14th goal of the season 2:44 after Kuznetsov’s tally to trim the deficit to 2-1. Brett Connolly made a sweet cross-ice pass to set up Eriksson’s scoring chance.
The goal gave Eriksson 34 points in 38 games.
The B’s continue a difficult stretch Friday in New Jersey against the resurgent Devils. New Jersey was picked by many experts to finish at or near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings, but it has gone 20-15-5 to this point and occupies one of the two wild-card playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images