Two weeks ago, the Capitals came into their game against the Boston Bruins on the hockey equivalent of fourth and long: reeling from consecutive losses and missing their captain, Alex Ovechkin. With the help of a hat trick from an unexpected source, diminutive Mathieu Perreault, the Caps hung on to beat the Bruins and set the stage for today’s Super Sunday rematch.
The Bruins opened the scoring, after Milan Lucic caught Dennis Wideman napping and buried a midrange attempt. That play was the end result of the Caps being unable to generate any sustained zone pressure early in the game. An unsuccessful Jeff Schultz dump in led to the Bruins rush. Eight minutes later, Patrice Bergeron out-hustled half of the Caps team to chase down a loose puck behind the net and found Brad Marchand wide open for the second Bruins goal of the afternoon.
The second period was unremarkable. Neither team scored, and the Caps were outshot by the Bruins. Worryingly, the Caps lost one of the faces of their franchise, venerable forward Brooks Laich to an apparent leg injury late in the second period as a result of a clean check by Dennis Seidenberg.
The Caps’ ineffectual play continued throughout the third period. A woeful offensive zone presence and defensive miscue after defensive miscue doomed the Capitals. Additionally, the Caps’ injury concerns piled up after Dmitry Orlov left the ice trailing blood after being struck by a puck in the face (for the second time in two days). In a slight positive, the Capitals did manage to avoid getting shut out as Marcus Johansson finally solved Tim Thomas and banked in a hail mary shot off Dennis Seidenberg late in the third period. Rich Peverley added an empty net goal to seal the win for the Bruins.
Washington’s next game is Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.