April 27, 2013

Postgame Breakdown: Bruins wilt in Washington

By Jesse Connolly

Tuukka Rask makes a save with Andrew Ference and Troy Brouwer looking on. (Getty Images) 

Final: Washington 3, Boston 2 (OT)

Recap: The Bruins got off to a 1-0 lead in the first period thanks to Milan Lucic's third goal in 31 games, which came off a 60 mile-an-hour wrister that went in off Karl Alzner's skate. In the second, they stretched that advantage to two when Andy Ference beat Braden Holtby with a snap shot 7:49 into the middle frame.

But in the third, the Caps buried two power-play goals in the span of 115 seconds. Both came off the stick of Mike Green on shots from the point.

In the extra session, Washington tallied on the man advantage for the third time with Eric Fehr burying his second overtime winner against Boston this season.

Records: Washington 27-18-3, 57 points; Boston 28-13-6, 62 points

Key Play of the Game: On the game-winner, Mike Ribeiro was near the far half wall of the offensive zone and zipped a pass over to Green at the top of the near circle. The Caps d-man got off a good shot, but Rask looked to make the stop in a more desperate fashion than necessary, leaving the rebound right in front of him. Wade Redden didn't box out Fehr, enabling the winger to come right in and bang home the loose puck.

Connolly's Commendations: I may have joked about Lucic's goal, but at this point in the game (and by game I mean season, sorry if that's in any way confusing), he'll take 'em any way he can get 'em. The B's embattled winger also assisted on Ference's tally, giving him two points on the night and a plus-2 rating. 

Speaking of assists on Ference's goal, Rich Peverley had the other. That snaps a seven-game point drought for him. Hooray!

Connolly's Critiques: What the heck happened to the penalty kill that used to give up goals once every 14 times the opposition went on the power play? Boston's PK has been getting lit up lately and hit rock bottom tonight, allowing three goals on five PPs. 

Tough night for Chis Kelly, who's also a key part of the aforementioned penalty kill. No. 23 hit the post in overtime and then missed going on a shorthanded breakaway when he had his stick lifted in the neutral zone, causing him to overskate the puck. To top it all off, he won just two of 10 faceoffs. 

Notes: Jaromir Jagr (flu) and Nathan Horton (upper body) didn't make the trip to D.C. Boston blew a three-goal lead the last time they were in Washington. With Montreal winning tonight, Boston needs a victory against the Senators on Sunday if they want the No. 2 seed.

Final Thoughts: In a perfect world, the Bruins would've taken a genuine lead in the division tonight and been able to rest up everyone tomorrow. Instead, Montreal wins, Boston gets just a single point and now Claude Julien has decided that the Northeast is -- well, that second seed -- is critical, and that playing everyone tomorrow is the best move. With this being the B's third game in four nights, and the playoffs just a few days away, is that truly the best course of action? Time will tell.

Next: The Bruins will play host to the Senators at 7 o'clock Sunday, closing out the NHL's regular-season schedule. 

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com