Shorthanded Capitals Surprise Reigning Stanley Cup Champions, Beat Bruins 5-3
The Capitals were missing three of their top scorers from last season in Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alex Ovechkin. Facing the Stanley Cup Champions, most fans expected a blowout win in favor of the Bruins. The Capitals, led by the most unlikely of heroes, did not get that memo. Mathieu Perreault, coming off a very strong two assist performance on Sunday in the 4-3 OT loss to the Penguins, led the way with his first career hat trick as the Washington Capitals shocked the Boston Bruins as they won 5-3.
The Capitals, motivated by losing their Captain Alex Ovechkin (suspended for 3 games due to his hit on Sunday), played with an intensity that has been rarely seen from them this season. Despite going into the first intermission down 1-0, the Capitals came out very strong in the second period, as Cody Eakin and Mathieu Perreault both scored within one minute of each other to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead early in the second period. The Bruins also came out strong on offense, unfortunately, as they managed to get that goal back courtesy of Tyler Seguin, who received a poor clearing attempt from John Carlson and scored on the mini-breakaway. The Capitals took the lead once again off another Mathieu Perreault goal off a beautiful breakaway. The Bruins made a lazy pass, and Perreault made sure that they paid for it. The Bruins were able to get that one back at the end of the second period during a power play, as a rebound got a lucky bounce for the Bruins and went straight to Brad Marchand who had the easy tip in.
After the second intermission, the Capitals played with even more intensity, particularly on defense. This intensity paid off as Mathieu Perreault got a hat trick with his third goal of the evening. It was his first career hat trick, and fourth career multi-goal game. He’s been incredible as the first-line center, and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Dennis Wideman added the coup-de-grace with an empty net goal to put the nail in the coffin for the Bruins.
The Capitals got assists from Alex Semin, Troy Brouwer, Roman Hamrlik (who had 2), Joel Ward, Jay Beagle (his first of the season), Marcus Johansson, and Jeff Halpern. Dale Hunter said before the game that the Capitals would have to get goals via “scoring by committee”, and he was right. The stat of the night: hits. The Capitals outhit the Bruins, who are notorious for being very physical, 30-16.
Tomas Vokoun had a very solid night in net. Keeping the Bruins to 3 goals on 32 shots is no easy task. He made huge saves when he needed to, and he kept the Capitals in the game. He gets a lot of flack sometimes, but he’s been huge for the Capitals this year when they’ve needed him to be.
It’s the All-Star break, so the Capitals have a week off. They return to action next Tuesday as they visit Florida to play the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Shots on goal: Bruins 32 Caps 23
Hits: Bruins 16 Caps 30
Faceoff Wins: Bruins 28 Caps 28
Blocked Shots: Bruins 15 Caps 21