WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the better part of the first period, it appeared that the Washington Capitals were back on track and ready to put the woes of the last week behind them. However, once the Capitals took their third penalty of the game late in the opening frame, things started to go south.
After jumping to a 2-0 lead early thanks to goals from Conor Sheary, Washington saw another collapse and surrendered six straight goals against Boston, including four in the second period. Ultimately, the team saw its worst defeat of the season and fell 7-3.
The Capitals have now lost four straight games and have surrendered at least four goals in three of their last four.
“We have to get back to our game, our game plan,” Sheary said postgame. We have a lot of good players that have been in and out of the lineup, maybe get them back in and get some reps. We’re not going to hit the panic button, we’re just going to keep grinding away.”
Here are all the takeaways from the loss:
Penalties Set Bruins Offense In Motion
The Capitals did have a solid start to the game, skating well and generating some high-quality chances. However, toward the end of the frame, a number of penalties came back to bite Washington, who was missing one of its top penalty killers in Carl Hagelin.
It started with Evgeny Kuznetsov taking a holding call, followed by a high-sticking double minor from Nic Dowd. A the tail-end of that penalty, John Carlson took a cross-checking minor, and that resulting 5-on-3 got the B’s going.
David Pastrnak opened the scoring on a quick one-timer on the two-man advantage, and Brad Marchand rocketed a quick shot top shelf past Zach Fucale just 40 seconds later to make it 2-2 heading into the second.
Those late calls and PPGs proved to be a game-changer, as the ice tilted completely in Boston’s direction going forward.
Another Second-Period Collapse Costs Capitals
The second period has not been kind to the Capitals of late, and Monday proved to see the same issues play out. After a strong start, the team seemed to run out of gas, and that lack of momentum led to a Bruins frenzy in the second.
Boston got quick goals from Matt Grzelcyk and Craig Smith, leading to Fucale being pulled for Vitek Vanecek after he surrendered four goals on 16 shots against (.750 save percentage). Vitek Vanecek came off the bench to relieve him but surrendered two goals on his first two shots against from David Pastrnak and Erik Haula.
T.J. Oshie got the Capitals back on the board with a re-direct on an Alex Ovechkin pass, but there still wasn’t much energy for Washington feed off of. In the third period, Marchand added another, with Matt Grzelcyk picking up his fourth assist of the night on the play.
“We’re at the point of the season where that has to get fixed, right? We’re a veteran team. It’s not like we’re a group of guys that don’t know how to hold onto the lead,” Nic Dowd said. “So we just need to get back to that, realize if we’re beating a team 2-0 or 2-1, that’s okay in the first of a game like that.”
Sheary Stays Hot For Capitals
Heading into Monday’s game, Sheary was originally on the third line with Connor McMichael and Lars Eller. However, with Carl Hagelin entering COVID-19 protocol just hours before puck drop, Sheary was tasked with playing on the powerhouse line with Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway — and he made the most of it.
No. 73 picked up back-to-back goals in the opening frame, both of them coming off turnovers and loose pucks in front of the net.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 11, 2022
Sheary has been stellar of late, combining his gritty, speedy style with point production. He now has 10 goals of the season, with five of those coming over his last nine games. In total, he has nine points in his last 11 outings. He now has 19 points through 31 games this season and is just four away from passing last year’s total of 22 through 53 outings.
Oshie Picks Up Goal For Capitals
In his first game back in action, T.J. Oshie got on the board, responding for the Capitals after Erik Haula’s goal to pull them to 6-3. His goal came off a re-direct on an Alex Ovechkin pass. Evgeny Kuznetsov also picked up a helper.
Oshie now has five goals and 13 points through 17 games this season. He has points in four of his last six games overall. Ovechkin’s assist marked his 28th of the season, and he is now up to 52 points on the year. He sits just one point behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for the NHL scoring lead. Kuznetsov has points in back-to-back games and points in four of his last six.
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- In his return to action, Nicklas Backstrom was solid in the face-off dot and won 16 of 23 draws (70 percent).
- And, despite the result, the Backstrom combination with Aliaksei Protas and Tom Wilson did generate quite a bit of zone time and a few good chances.
- The power play continued to struggle and went 0-for-2. This was the second time the team has dressed its usual PP1 unit this season.
- Ovechkin and Sheary were tied for the team lead in shots (4).
- Martin Fehervary led Washington with five hits. Oshie, Matt Irwin and Nic Dowd had four apiece.