The 7-3 score doesn’t necessarily tell the full story of Monday night’s Boston Bruins-Washington Capitals game. For the first 20 minutes, the game was pretty close.
Then, it went off the rails for Washington.
After Conor Sheary scored the first two goals of the game to put the Capitals up 2-0, the Bruins scored twice late in the period on the power play to tie the game heading into the break. They were the first two tallies of a run of six unanswered goals for the Bruins.
The first goal came during a 5-on-3 for Boston. Nic Dowd was in the box on a double minor for high-sticking Brad Marchand, which drew blood and required stitches. He was joined later on by John Carlson, who got called for cross-checking Erik Haula.
Fifteen seconds after the Carlson penalty, David Pastrnak scored, releasing Dowd. Just 40 seconds later, Marchand scored to tie the game with Carlson still in the box.
Dowd didn’t seem to disagree with the high-sticking call on him, but the call on Carlson that resulted in the 5-on-3 clearly drew his ire.
“I think in the first period (we were good) up until our first penalty,” Dowd told reporters after the game, via team-provided audio. “Then I took a double minor, and then I think they made a soft call on Carlson there. That happens 100 times a game where guys get pushed around in front of the net — especially to the point where it makes a 5-on-3. Regardless, it’s 2-2 at that point and I think we got stretched out.”
Things snowballed after that for the Capitals, so there is credence to the case Dowd seems to be making that if the referees didn’t put them on a 5-on-3, which in turn opened the floodgates, then perhaps we’re talking about a different outcome.
You can “if” and “but” to your heart’s content, though. The bottom line is they’re professionals, and the Capitals needed to find a way to stop the bleeding, which they were unable to do.