Bruins Outworked by Capitals in 5-3 Loss: Fan Reaction

On January 24, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins closed out the unofficial first-half of the season with a 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals. With Alex Ovechkin suspended and Nicklas Backstrom on injured reserve, Mathieu Perreault stepped up and nearly doubled his season goal total with a hat trick to lead the Capitals. Boston played a sloppy game and put far too much pressure on Tuukka Rask with some costly turnovers and generally sluggish play.

Boston placed six of the game's first seven shots on goal. Once the Capitals found their rhythm, Rask held his ground. Rich Peverley, who started with the first line in Nathan Horton's absence, facilitated the game's first score at the 17:46 mark; Peverley dangled around Karl Alzner and enjoyed some luck as his pass bounced off Alzner's stick and into the net for his eighth goal. Rask saved ten in the period to send the Bruins into intermission up 1-0.

The Capitals jumped on the Bruins early in the second period to take the lead. At 2:14, Rask made an initial save, but couldn't corral the rebound and allowed a soft goal for Cody Eakin. 41 seconds later, the Capitals worked a three-on-two that ended in Mathieu Perreault's fifth goal of the year to make it 2-1 Washington. Tyler Seguin made a steal in the attacking zone, got behind the defense and retied the game at 12:21; it increased his team-leading total to 19 goals. A neutral zone turnover by Johnny Boychuk quickly gave the lead back to Washington as Perreault scored his second goal of the period on a breakaway at 14:23. Little ball of hate Brad Marchand notched a power play goal, his 17th, at 17:42 to send it into the third period tied at 3-3.

Another turnover by a Bruins' defenseman led to Washington's fourth score; Adam McQuaid's cross-ice pass was intercepted by Alexander Semin who came up with another breakaway; on the ensuing possession, Perreault completed his hat trick at the 7:18 mark of the third period. With five minutes left, the Bruins held a 30 to 22 shots on goal advantage, but Washington enjoyed the better scoring opportunities. Dennis Wideman scored on Boston's empty net in the final minute to seal the win for Washington.

Boston got outworked and made too many mistakes to overcome the shorthanded Capitals. The Bruins were a step behind on just about every 50-50 battle. If most of them want to return to the White House next year, they will need to use the All-Star break to regroup and get back to the brand of hockey that built them their Northeast Division lead.

The majority of Bruins are looking at a week off while Zdeno Chara, Seguin and Tim Thomas head to Ottawa to participate in the All-Star Game. The Bruins return to the ice as a team on January 31 when they host the Ottawa Senators.

Sources:

Boston at Washington, Tuesday, January 24, 2012, Yahoo! Sports

Stats, NHL.com

William Menna is a native New Englander and longtime Boston sports fan.

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Celtics hold Magic to 56 points in dominant win

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Updated Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012