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Capitals Takeaways

Takeaways: Kuemper, Capitals Hold On To Overcome Bruins

Darcy Kuemper put on a show, while Nicklas Backstrom and Garnet Hathaway scored to lift the Washington Capitals to a vital 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins.



After a lengthy All-Star Break, the Washington Capitals came into TD Garden as the underdogs as they faced a tall task in their first game back against the top-ranked Boston Bruins, who'd lost just once in regulation at home before Saturday. Ultimately, Washington defied the odds en route to a critical road victory.

Darcy Kuemper was stellar between the pipes, while Nicklas Backstrom and Garnet Hathaway scored to lift Washington to a 2-1 win in Boston.

Those two points moved the Capitals back into the first Wild Card spot and out of their tie for the second wild-card spot with the New York Islanders.

Here are all the takeaways from the win:

Darcy Kuemper, Garnet Hathaway, PK Help Keep Washington Capitals In Front As Boston Bruins Tilt Ice

After going down 1-0 after 20, Boston came out flying in the second, eager to turn the tide. The Bruins outshot Washington 11-4 in the second and got quite a few high-quality opportunities as they tilted the ice.

Darcy Kuemper rose to the occasion to answer the bell, coming up with some big stops in front, slowing down the tempo when need be and tracking the puck well. He ended up stopping 27 of 28 shots (.964 save percentage), including a huge stop on a third-period penalty kill with his team-leading 2-1.

Garnet Hathaway also stepped up to score the game-winning goal for the Capitals in the second, intercepting a failed Jakub Lauko clear at the line before sniping a quick shot off the bar and in past Swayman. Hathaway now has goals in back-to-back games, and his fourth line with Lars Eller and Anthony Mantha matched up well against Patrice Bergeron's top line with Brad Marchand and Craig Smith.

The penalty kill was also stellar in keeping David Pastrnak and more off the board. Boston went 0-for-4 on the power play in a game filled with calls, including one on Martin Fehervary for boarding with just 25.5 seconds to go.

Power Play Fuels Strong Start For Washington Capitals, Struggles In Second

After an influx of penalties to open the game, the Capitals found themselves in an ideal situation early in the first as they went on a two-man advantage — and it paid off.

Operating on a 5-on-3 power play, Nicklas Backstrom made a great pass to Marcus Johansson in front, who had a great chance on Jeremy Swayman in tight. Backstrom then skated over and tapped in the loose puck in front to make it a 1-0 game.

It marked Backstrom's second goal in three games, and he now has points in three of his last four contests overall. Johansson also got the primary assist, extending his point streak to four games.

While the start was strong, Washington's second-period power play left a lot to be desired, as the team went without a shot on goal and couldn't get a lot of momentum or scoring chances, let alone sustain zone time.

The fourth power play came in the third after Hampus Lindholm sucker-punched Nicolas Aube-Kubel in front of the net, but it washed out 12 seconds in after Alex Ovechkin took an interference call.

In the end, the Capitals went 1-for-4 on the man advantage.

Top Shelf Takes

– Ovechkin had just two shots and two other attempts but led the team with six hits. He also had two penalties and a huge shot block late.

– In his last four games, Backstrom has two goals, an assist and a shootout winner. Safe to say No. 19 is feeling like himself again.

– Hathaway and Conor Sheary were tied for the team lead in shots (3).

– Sonny Milano and Nicolas Aube-Kubel each logged just over 10 minutes of ice time.

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